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Da spatium tennemque moram, male cuncta ministrat 

Statii Theb. Lib. X. 

W A R W I C K 

Printed at the Shakespeare Printing Press, High Street, 
by H. T. Cooke and Son. 1863. 

2 oYt*/- .%s*J> I' 06 


The curious MS. which is now first printed, was purchased by 
me some years ago from a Bookseller's Catalogue. It is written through- 
out with great neatness, and bound in old calf. There is a paper amongst 
the Sloane MSS. (No. 529) which contains a portion of the Observations, 
but in a condensed form ; and there is in the possession of J. H. Aveling, 
Esq , M.D., of Sheffield, a MS. resembling mine, both in the handwriting 
and the binding, though in some respects it is not quite so complete. I 
am indebted to Dr. Aveling for his courtesy and kindness in allowing me 
to compare his MS. with mine. 

My thanks are also due to several other members of the medical 
profession, and especially to William Munk, Esq., M.D., the learned 
compiler of The Roll of the Royal College of Physicians of London, for their 
assistance in my endeavours to obtain information respecting the life of 
Percival Willughby. 


I regret that the result has been so unsatisfactory. Repeated 
attacks of illness have, during the last two years, prevented me from 
pursuing the subject further, and have delayed the publication of this book 
so long, that I feel I cannot offer sufficient apologies to those gentlemen 
who have kindly sent in their names as subscribers. 

I venture to hope that the volume so long promised will be an 
acceptable addition to the libraries of my professional brethren. 



SCION of two ancient and illustrious families, a 
Physician of great repute, actively engaged in the 
practice of Midwifery in the Counties of Derby 
and Stafford, and in London, for half a century, 
Percival Willughby has nevertheless left behind him no materials from 
which a complete biography can be compiled. The personal information 
respecting him is fragmentary and unsatisfactory. He was born in the year 
1596, and was, as Dr. Denman remarks in the Preface to his Introduction 
to the Practice of Midivifery, "one of the six sons of Sir Percival Willughby, 
and grandson of Sir Francis, so famous in the time of Queen Elizabeth." 
He was in fact the sixth son of Sir Percival, and as appears from a MS. 
pedigree of the family, was uncle to the celebrated Francis Willughby, the 
Naturalist. Sir Francis Willughby, who was born in 1547, and who built 
Wollaton Hall, in Nottinghamshire, married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir 
John Littleton, of Frankley, and by her had five daughters, the eldest of 
whom, Bridget, married Sir Percival Willughby, of the house of Eresby. 
Sir Percival Willughby and Bridget his wife had issue five daughters and 
six sons. The fourth son, Sir Francis Willughby, Knight, was the father 

Biographical Notice. 

of the Naturalist, whose son, Sir Francis, the first Baronet of the family, 
dying unmarried, was succeeded by Thomas, his brother and heir, who, in 
1711, was created the first Baron Middle ton. The sixth son was Percival. 
It is a curious circumstance in connection with the future pursuits of our 
author Percival, that his father and mother, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, 
prayed for a writ "de ventre inspiciendo" against Dorothy, the second wife 
and widow of Sir Francis Willughby, of Wollaton, which Dorothy alleged 
herself to be with child by Sir Francis. 

The proceedings in the case are so curious, that we make no 
apology for inserting the following extract from the old Law Eeports : — 


" Percival Willoughby, and Bridget his wife, one of the co-heirs of 
Sir Francis Willoughby, (because Sir Francis Willoughby died seized of a 
great inheritance, having five daughters, whereof the eldest was married to 
Percival Willoughby, and not any son ; and the said Sir Francis, leaving his 
wife Dorothy, who, at the time of his death, pretended herself to be with 
child by Sir Francis, which, if it were a son, all the five sisters should 
thereby lose the inheritance descended unto them,) prayed a writ de ventre 
inspiciendo out of the Chancery directed to the Sheriff of London, that he 
should cause the said Dorothy to be viewed by twelve knights, and searched 
by twelve women, in the presence of the twelve knights, and ad tractandum 
per ubera and ventrem inspiciend, whether she were with child, and to 
certify the same unto the Common Bench. And if she were with child, to 

Biographical Notice. 

certify for how long time in their judgments and quando sit paritura. 
Whereupon the Sheriff accordingly caused her to be searched, and returned 
that she was twenty weeks gone with child, and that within twenty weeks 
fuit paritura. Whereupon another writ issued out of the Common Bench, 
commanding the Sheriff safely to keep her in such an house, and that the 
doors should be well guarded, and that every day he should cause her to be 
viewed by some of the women named in the writ, (wherein ten were named), 
and when she should be delivered, that some of them should be with her, to 
view her birth, whether it be male or female, to the intent there should not 
be any falsity. And upon this writ the Sheriff returned — That accordingly 
he had caused her to be kept, &c. And that such a day she was delivered 
of a daughter. ' See Groke's Elizabeth, London, 1669, p. 566. 

We have not been able to procure any information respecting the 
early life of Percival Willughby, except that he received a first-rate education, 
the expense of which his father could ill afford ; and that he was a lad of great 
industry. Percival and his brothers, Thomas and Henry, were first sent to 
school at Trowbridge, and from thence were removed to Rugby. They were 
afterwards removed to Eton, and finally, all three were sent to complete 
their education at Oxford. The master of the school at Rugby wrote several 
letters to Sir Percival, in which he commended them all for their great 
industry. These particulars appear in a MS. account of the Willughby 
family, formerly in the library at Stowe, written by Cassandra Willughby, 
the second wife of James, the first Duke of Chandos. This MS. in so far as 
it relates to our author Percival, appears to have been compiled from letters 

Biographical Notice. 

and papers which were in the libi'ary at Wollaton, and we extract from it the 
following interesting particulars : — 

" While Sir Percival was thus grievously oppressed with the want 
of money, his son Henry, and his son Percival (who were at Trinity College, 
in Oxford) suffered under the same calamity. 

There are, in the library at Wollaton, several letters written from 
Oxford, by Percival Willughby to his father, in which he very generously 
expressed his concern for the expence which Sir Percival was at, to maintain 
him at Oxford, and his desire to free him from that charge. 

There is a letter from him to Sir Percival, dated January, 1619, in 
which he writ that now a fair opportunity offered itself, for his uncle Robert 
Willughby had proposed his being placed with Mr. Feames Van Otten, who, 
for a hundred pounds, offered to keep him seven years, and to teach him 
Music, Physic, and Surgery ; and had promised to use him like a son, main- 
tain him like a gentleman, and allow him the free use of his study, and to 
teach him the secrets of physic : that under him he should have time for his 
own private studies, and to keep his public exercises as before. And after 
this, his Uncle Eobert had promised that he should live with him, and that 
he would bring him into his business. 

In other letters, Percival Willughby earnestly pressed his father to 
consent to this offer, and not to scruple his being so placed, as thinking it an 
undervaluing to him, for, with God's blessing, he did not doubt but the 
profession of Physic would make him more happy than his two eldest 

Biographical Notice. 


brothers ; and by the help of that practice, he believed he should never stand 
in need of them, but he questioned not that they would stand in need of him. 

It appears by the old papers that Sir Percival was at last prevailed 
upon by his son, and did consent to send him for seven years to this famous 
person, Mr. Feames Van Otten, who used Percival Willughby with great 
kindness, but died before his time was out. There is a very melancholy 
letter from him to Sir Percival, upon the death of Mr. Feames Van Otten, in 
which he grievously lamented the loss of such a master. 

This Percival Willughby so well improved himself in the time he 
served so good a master, that he soon took his Doctor's degree, and became a 
very eminent Physician. 

He married the daughter of Sir Francis Coke, of Trusley, A.D., 
1631, and settled himself in Derby town, where he practised Physic, and 
lived in great repute, till he was near ninety years of age. He had by this 
wife two or three sons, who all died unmarried, and two daughters, the 
eldest of which married Mr. Hart, and the younger married Mr. Burton, 
of Derby. 

Henry was not so fortunate as his younger Brother, Percival, who, 
by his practice, gained such an income, as allowed him to live with great 
plenty, but Henry, who studied the Law, did not live to reap much profit by 
it ; after following that study at Oxford, he removed to the Inward Temple, 
and, from thence, he writ a great many very melancholy letters to Sir 
Percival, his Father, which still remain in the Library at Wollaton." 

Biographical Notice. 

It is doubtful whether the family historian is correct in stating 
that Percival Willughby took his Doctor's degree. We have been unable to 
find any record of it. The passage in the MS. would naturally lead to the 
conclusion that he took the Degree early in life, and that can hardly have 
been the case, for on February 20th, 1640-1, he was admitted an extra 
licenciate of the Royal College of Physicians, of London, and was described 
as "in villa et comitatu Derbiensi et alibi in Medicina bene et multum 
exercitatus," but there was no mention of his possessing a degree in 

Neither did he possess it in 1666, when his wife died, if we may 
draw any inference from the inscription on her gravestone, in which he 
describes himself as simply "generosus." It is true that in the inscription 
on his own gravestone he is described as M.D., but that in itself would not 
necessarily imply more than Physician. 

The statement that he settled in Derby, in 1631, is, however, 
corroborated by our author's reports of cases attended by him (v. p. 268,) 
and in fact it is probable that he was practising there in 1630, (v. p. 130), 
but when and where he first commenced practice we are unable to discover. 
He must have been in practice as early as 1624, if we may rely upon his 
statement made in January, 1669, that he had practised "nigh forty-five 
years," (v. p. 114.) 

Until the year 1655 he appears to have practised in Derbyshire, 
and to have been resident in Derby, but in that year we find him living in 

* See the Eoll of the Royal College of Physicians of London, by William Munk, M.D., 
Vol. I., p. 213. 

Biographical Notice. 

Staffordshire, (v. p. 259, "whitest that I lived in Stafford, &c." and p. 49.) 
and it would seem that he was not resident in Staffordshire for a long time 
before 1655, for he says (p. 77) "About the year 1654, 1 travailed with my 
guide, about the middle of summer, all the fore part of the night, and 
was brought to Bromidgham, in Staffordshire." 

His sojourn then in Stafford was not of long duration, for in 1656 
we find him in London, and in this instance he gives us in a few words, the 
reason for his removal. " I left Stafford and went to London, there to live 
for the better education of my children, in May, 1656. And by reason of an 
Apothecary, that formerly had lived in Stafford, I quickly had some practice 
in midwifery, among the meaner sort of women." (v. p. 238.) 

During his residence in London, however, he was not without 
practice of a higher class, for in 1658 we find him, with his daughter, 
attending " Sir Tennebs Evanks lady." 

His daughter at this period appears to have been of great service 
to him. The first mention of her is in 1655, when he takes her with him to 
a case at Congerton, (v. p. 158), but in 1656 she appears to have been 
competent to attend cases without her father's assistance, and to have 
practised in Staffordshire, and subsequently in London, (v. p. 119.) 

We cannot positively fix the duration of Willughby's residence in 
London, but inasmuch as he mentions cases in London in 1658, and 1659, 
and in 1660 we find him attending a case eight miles from Derby, it may 
fairly be assumed that he returned to Derby sometime in the year 1659, or 

'Biographical Notice. 

Here he resumed the extensive and laborious practice which he 
appears to have carried on till within a few years of his death ; frequently 
taking long journies on horseback through the night, regardless of bad roads 
and bad weather ; now staying several days with a patient in the country, 
receiving all the time importunate messages from other ladies who required 
his services ; now losing his way in a forest, and riding hard to be in time. 

It is possible that his son may have assisted him during the 
later years of his practice, for he mentions receiving such assistance in the 
year 1670, (p. 175,) and it is noticeable that his observations on cases 
cease about that time. 

He died in the year 1685, at the advanced age of 89. 

On a stone placed within the rails of the Communion table in the 
Chancel of St. Peter's, Derby, is the following inscription : — 

"Hie jacet corpus Percivalli Willughby, M.D., filii Percivalli 
Willughby de Woollaton in Comitatu Nottingham, Militis. Obiit 2 die 
Octob. Anno Salutis 1685. 
^Etatis suae 89." 

Beneath this inscription are the arms of Willughby, and on a 
stone near it is the following inscription to the memory of Elizabeth, 
our author's wife : — 

" Hie jacet Elizabetha uxor Perciva. Willughby gen. filia 
Francisci Coke de Trusley Milit. ipsa obiit 15 Feb. 1666, setatis suse 67. 

dfoplaitaiifln: of Ctfle Igage. 

The figure of Juno Lucina represented on the title page, is 
engraved from a cast taken by Mr. Doubleday, of the British Museum, from 
a fine Eoman large brass coin of the Empress Lucilla, in the collection 
of the Museum. 

At the request of a friend, Edward Hawkins, Esq , F.R.S., F.S.A., 
keeper of the antiquities in the Museum, has kindly permitted the coin to be 
copied expressly for this publication. 

The flower held in the right hand of the Goddess is part of the 
ancient emblem of Hope ; and the object of hope seems to be indicated by 
a figure of an infant at the side of the Divinity. 

The whole representation would appear to point out the trust of 
the Empress in the protection of the Goddess Juno Lucina during 

(S^planaiion of Jfronttsjraa. 

This curious woodcut is copied from a rare volume intituled 
" Thonue Bartholini Antiquitatum veteris puerperii Synopsis." — Amstelodami 
MDCLXXVI. It is thus explained in the text, and aecompanying note. 

"Imminente puerperio clavis tradita a maritis, locusque puerperii 
idem eligebatur, quern olim habuerant Patres, purpura stratus antiqua imperii 
nota, sed ad plures ob luxum deinde divulgata. Habitu ornantur proprio, 
quern ex figulina tabula eruimus*. Caput fasciis cinctum, pallio abjecto et 
soleis, quse peracto resumuntur opere. 

Assident, sed nee poplite in alterum genu imposito, nee digitis 
pectinatim implexis. 

Proxima quseque apprehendentes dolore se sublevant, primaque 
cura est, ob partus facilitatem, palmam tetigisse.' 

* Tabulam illam figulinam, quae asservabatur olim in Museo V.C. Martii Milesii 
Sarazani exbibet nobis Jac. Philip. Tomasinus de Donariis, ex quo nos earn bic proponimus 

Tabulam banc Puerperarum votum exhibere et Dianas Nemorensi sacram putat 
Tomasinus, quippe quae Nemi inventa est, ubi celebre olim Dianas Templum. Continet autem 
base obstetricem, qua? puerum in lucem jam editum gremio fovet, et dextra mulierem 
puerperam sustinet fere nudam, babitu dimisso. Ita enim de babitu puerpera? Plautus 
Truculent. Act II. Sc. 5. 

vosmet jam videtis 

Tit omata incedo puerperio . . . . " 

0^ M ^ s?> 

OCT 23 


Observations in Midwifery, 

By Percivall Willughby, 


everall Worthies have set forth the waves of anatomizing of the 
womb. An eminent person of late hath published a treatise 
" De formato foetu." Several! others have written of the diseases of the 

These little belong to the knowledge of midwives, I shall there- 
fore passe by these learned works. My endeavours shall bee very 
little to meddle with diseases, physick, or medicines, but to shew the 
handy operation to midwives, how to produce the fetus, when perfectly 
formed, and how to help poor suffering women in distresses, and, chiefly 
to direct the country young midwives, with what I have read, seen and 
performed, giving them severall examples, and caveats, with perswasions, 
intreating them not to bee too busie afore fitting time. So their women 
will bee more easily, and better helped in their sufferings, and their own 

Observations in Midivifery, by 

repute advanced in the practice of midwifery, by observing what hath 
been by mee performed at severall times in diverse places. 

And for their good I have put forth these observations in English, 
knowing that few of our midwives bee learned in severall languages. 
For I have been with some that could not read, with severall that could 
not write ; with many that understood very little of practice, and for 
such as these bee, it would do no good to speak to them of the anato- 
mizing of the womb, or to tell them of the learned workes of Mercatus, 
or Sennertus, or Spigelius. 

What I shall do is not to shew any new way of practice to the 
learned (of whom I desire to be instructed) but to inform the ignorant 
common midwives with such wayes as I have used with good successe. 
My thoughts bee onely for a publick good, and chiefly to benefit my 
own nation, and the midwives inhabiting England. And it is my desire 
to expresse myself in such plain familiar words in this work, as may 
bee well understood by them, for the better easing of labouring women 
and the saving of poor innocent infants lives. 

To set forth a discourse concerning the posture of the child in- 
closed in the womb, would not at all advance their knowledg, and I do 
decline it. For Pareus saith, that reason cannot shew the certaine situ- 
ation of the infant in the womb, and that it is altogether uncertain, 
variable and diverse, both in living and in dead women. It will bee 
sufficient for midwives to know in what posture the child commeth, and 
how to alter unnatural and difficult births, and so to help their women 
in distresse, that the secondine or uterine cake groweth to the botom of 
the womb, and is firmly there fastened to the uterus, and that it is not 
easily separated from it, except it bee when the birth is drawing toward 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 

the delivery, at which time, like a ripe fruit, it easily forgoeth the former 

Yet it may bee usefull to give them a glimmering light, what 
learned anatomists have, in some part, set forth. 

They say that there bee two coats Amnion and Chorion, which 
cover the infant in the womb, which coates or membranes hold in the 
waters, in which the body of the infant swimmeth. 

To which membranes other Anatomists adde a third, which they 
call Allontoides, which some call a duplication of the membrane Chorion, 
and some doubt whether there bee such a coat as Allontoides. 

And these Anatomists and Physicians say, that the humour, which 
is contained in the .Amnion, is most thin and transparent ; but the hu- 
mour which is in Chorion is thicker and darker. 

And that these coats Amnion and Chorion do encompasse the 
infant in the womb, and that the use of these membranes, or coates, is 
to contain and keep in the waters, in winch the infant swimmeth, and 
with winch the foetus is nourished. 

This coat Chorion is rough and viscous without, but within 
smooth and glib, and in women the upper part of it is thicker and soft- 
er, and fleshy, but the lower part thinner and more membranous. And 
in women tins membrane, called Chorion, groweth to the secondine, and 
the secondine sticketh to the side, or upper part of the womb. 

In processe of time, when the thinner and purer part of these hu- 
mours bee exhausted, the relicks do then put on the nature af an usefull 

Observations in Midwifery, by 

excrement, and are reserved in some a nim als, that they may secure the 
foetus, and facilitate the delivery, by their moisture making supple the 
straits of the womb, and so enlarging the narrow passages. 

Most of the purer part of the humour inclosed in the coat Amni- 
on is commonly spent near the approaching time of delivery, and then it 
is probable that the foetus desireth to get forth, by reason that his pro- 
visions fail him. 

Then, through the infant's enforcing, and the paines of the mother, 
the womb openeth, and the Chorion, containing the waters, descendeth, 
which the midwives feeling, they say that the waters gather, and that 
the birth approacheth. After the breaking of these waters, the child 
followeth them. 

At this time, and not afore, the midwife may be assistent to the 
labouring woman, for the better helping of the cornming forth of the 
child, or rather for the receiving of it. 

After the child is born, the midwife must fetch away the secon- 
dine. The upper part thereof doth stick to the womb all the time that 
the woman goeth with child. But the middle part thereof doth grow to 
the Chorion. And this secondine, or after-birth, separating of it self, 
doth come away last in the delivery ; and is constituted of the humours, 
membranes, and fleshy substance, as also of the umbilicall vessels. 

Let the midwife look on the secondine, after that she hath fetched 
it, and it will shew her this membrane Chorion, like a broken bladder, 
from whence the waters issued, and in which the infant, swimming in the 
waters, was contained, sticking to the secondine, into which the navel- 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 

string is inserted, by which navel-string the midwife's hand is guided for 
the bringing away of the secondine. 

And I was moved rather to speak of the Chorion and Amnion, 
and of the waters in which the child swimmeth, hanging by the navel- 
string, for that there bee some simple midwives that imagine that the 
child oft sticketh to the woman's back ; and they do not blush to affirme 
their ignorances, how they have separated the child from sticking to the 

In the first place, I wish and desire all midwives not to bee too 
forward, or too officious in their undertakings, least that they disquiet 
nature, whose onely work it is, and I would have them to understand, 
that they bee but nature's servants in all their performances, and that 
they must attend her time and motion, as hereafter shall be shewed. 

Secondly to be cautious, That they take not the wind, or stone- 
colick/or such like distemperatures, or the raging paines and swellings of 
cancerous tumours in the womb, for a woman's labour, that is with child. 

An ordinary, poor, gentle clyster will shew the truth of these dif- 
ferences, and there is no place so barren that will not afford sufficient 
materials to make it. 

Bee not afraid to use such clysters as may onely free your women 
from several dis-quiets in their bodies, for they cannot hurt any woman, 
or her burden; they will prepare, supple, and make a larger way for a 
better passage, and will make the work more easy and prosperous under 
your hands, by bringing away the common excrements, filling the great 
gut, which oft cause a long and troublesome labour, hindering the descent 
of the child. 

Observations in Midwifery, by 

Anno 1630 I was desired by one Powell, a countryman, dwelling 
at Weston in Darbyshire, to visit his wife. Her midwife beleeved that 
shee was in labour, and had used some enforcing endeavours to lay her. 
But, after my comming, finding that the waters had not flowed, and that 
the womb was closed, instead of proceeding any farther, I caused her to 
take a clyster of milk, in which Avas boiled an handfull of chamomil, to 
which strained was added a spoon-full of sugar, and, afterward, the yolk 
of an egge ; and this was given lukewarme. Shee found great easement 
at the receiving of it. Shee went immediately to her bed, shee slept 
quietly all the night ; at the discharging of it, in the morning, all the 
dis-quiets of her body were removed, and shee continued well for the 
space of a moneth, after which time shee was well delivered. 

In my first dayes of ignorance, I thought that it was the best way 
to suffer midwives to stretch the labia vulvas with their hands and fingers, 
when the throwes approached. But friendly nature in time shewed mee 
my mistaking errour. Through the remotenes and the large distance of 
severall places whereunto I was called, the women, in the meane time, 
keeping the labouring woman warm and quiet, and the midwife desisting 
from using violence, by such usage I found the woman oft happily 
delivered before my comming ; and so it was made manifest to mee by 
observation, That haling, with pulling, and stretching their bodies, with 
suffering them to take cold, did ever much hurt, and never any good to 
women in distresse to procure or hasten labour. 

At the first approaching pain, bee it of labour, or of the colick, or 
of tumours, or through sharp humors, or costivenes, a lenitive clyster 
will mitigate the labouring woman's sufferings, and facilitate the work, 
no way hurting the woman, or child. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 

Let the quantity not exceed a one six ounces, or, at the most, to 
bee but half a pint, and the longer the labouring woman keepeth it, the 
better successe will follow. 

The reason, why so little a quantity is prescribed, is, for that it may 
bee the longer retained, and so it better easeth, suppleth, and enlargeth 
the passages. 

At Chesterfield, in Darbyshire, about the yeare 1646, Dorothy 
North, wife to Gilbert, being great with child, was afflicted with some 
disquiets in her belly. Several! midwives were called to assist her ; one 
of them thrust up her hand, and made great struggling in her body ; 
at the taking of it forth, her hand was all over bloody, and this midwife 
made great vaunts of her skil, and doings, and said, That the child did 
stick to the woman's back, but that shee had removed it. 

At my comming, I found that the waters had not flowed, and 
that the womb was closed ; I gave her a milky clyster that much abated 
her paines. I instructed one of the milder sort, that was left alone with 
her, what to do, and what to observe, and intreated her to bee gentle 
and patient with the woman, and to stay the appointed time, assuring 
her, That the fruit would fall off it-self, when that it was full ripe. 

Some two or three dayes after my departure, shee was well de- 
livered by this midwife, but her child was dead. I saw this woman 
Anno 1668, shee hath had severall children since her harsh usage; shee, 
with her children, were then living, and in good health. 

I should bee troubled to heare any midwife affirme, that a child 
did, or could, stick to the back, or side, of the mother. It would argue 

Observations in Midwifery, by 

and shew a grosse ignorance in snch a midwife. Let midwives make it 
rather manifest, that they have so mnch understanding in their callings 
as to know, That the child is inclosed within the membranes in the 
womb, and that it there swimmeth in water, and that the womb doth 
not stick to the back, or side, much lesse the child, swimming in water, 
and inclosed in severall coates, containing or holding in, these waters in 
the womb. And that they cannot help any woman before the womb 
doth open, and that, in part, some of the waters have issued. 

And, if that, in any place, they shall heare other midwives, or 
women, to affirme such untruths, to give no credit unto their sayings, 
but to account them ignorant and foolish, void of knowledg in the mid- 
wife's bed. 

In London Anno 1656 I was desired by a countryman, dwelling 
foure miles from the city, to visit his wife. Hee said, That shee had 
been in labour severall dayes, and could not bee delivered by the mid- 

I found tins woman sitting up, and very faint, and her young 
midwife troublesome, and sharply eluding the woman in pain, telling 
her, That shee could have found in her heart to have tied her feet in her 
chaire, and so, whether shee would or not, to have delivered her. 

I gave the woman and midwife good words ; I put the woman 
into her bed, and afterward, perceiving by my fingers that no waters had 
issued, and that the womb was closed, I gave her a clyster that much 
eased her paines ; afterward, with cordiall powders and juleps, her dis- 
quiets were taken away, and about a quarter of a year afterward shee was 
happily delivered of a living child. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 

I leave all women to their liberty to make choice of their midwife, 
yet I will not bee forward to perswade them to take such a midwife,, as 
will bind them, perforce, fast in their chair es, against their wills. Or, 
that will pull, stretch, or hale their bodies, or use any violence to enforce 
the womb, in hopes of a speedier delivery. Such struglings and doings 
make a difficult, painfull, and long labour. 

Not far from Nottingham there dwelt a good woman that oft had 
great pashes of bloud, accompanied with pain, comming from the womb. 

Some midwives affirmed that shee was with child, whereupon 
Physicians were consulted with. Upon the wrong informations of these 
midwives their prescriptions proved fruitles, and afforded no ease to the 
afflicted woman. 

But one of these midwives afterward assured her, That shee 
could ease and deliver her of the child. The poor woman in distresse, 
desirous to be freed of her tortures, hearkened and submitted to her 
skill. The midwife thrust up her hand into her body, and took hold of 
shee knew not what, and endeavoured violently to pull it away. But 
through her struglings and enforcements, great pains ensued, with a flux 
of bloud, and the woman being not able to endure such violence, the 
midwife was restrained from farther proceedings. 

After this usage I was sent for, instead of a child, I found a 
swel'd, cancerous tumour in the womb, that tortured this woman with 
terrible shootings and stinging paines, accompanied with noisome fluxes 
of humours ; of all which disquiets, within a few moneths afterward, 
shee was eased by death. 

These passages may move midwives to bee cautious of their pro- 
mises, and circumspect in their sayings and undertakings, and, withall, not 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

to bee too busy afore fitting time, to provoke or hasten delivery ; and 
to forbear all harsh proceedings, ever suffering the womb to open it self, 
and the waters to flow without their enforcements, and to offer no vio- 
lence to the womb or passages thereof. Otherwise they will not ease, 
but afflict, their women, by their unadvised waves, and ignorant pro- 

I advised a good woman, a physician's wife, that had suffered in 
severall labours, not to put her self under her midwife's hands before 
the waters flowed, and that shee could feel the child's head ; nor to be 
compelled to sit on the midwives stool, or woman's lap, or to kneele, 
before enforcing throws came upon her; and at no time to suffer the mid- 
wife to hale, or stretch, her body with her hands or fingers, through 
hopes to hasten her delivery ; but to rest quiet in, or on, her bed, and to 
keep her self warm, and to let her midwife do no more then to anoint 
her body, and, when the time should come, to receive the child and to help 
to fetch the after-birth if need require. Shee followed my counsell, and 
afterwards gave mee thanks for my directions and assured mee, That 
shee had found much ease and comfort by them ; and that her sufferings 
were little, and nothing so grievous as formerly they had been unto her, 
occasioned by her midwife's enforcements. 

In Darby, Feb : the ninth, 1667, a poor foole Mary Baker, wan- 
dering for sustinence, wanting cloths to keep her warm, having gone 
barefooted for many years, was, in an open, windy, cold place, nigh to a 
house of office, delivered by the sole assistance of Dame Nature, Eve's 
midwife, and freed of the after-birth, without the help of any other mid- 
wife, or any assisting woman present with her. It was reported, That 
the child, being a wench, lay naked upon the cold boards more than a 
quarter of an houre. Shee, being found out by the child's crying, was 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


not immediately succoured, but neighbers being called they took up the 
child and found the navel-string separated from the after-birth, which 
came of itself afterward. In her extremity shee was destitute of a warm 
place and bed, wanting necessaries fitting for a woman's releef. This 
poor creature, leaning with her back against a wall, was quickly deli- 
vered and more easily than many have been by midwives in warm places. 
Shee and the child lived. 

It is a good and fitting thing that every woman should have 
her midwife with her, at the time of her delivery. But it is not abso- 
lutely necessary, for that many bee delivered without the help of mid- 

The midwife's dutie, in a naturall birth, is no more but to attend, 
and wait on, nature, and to receive the child ; and, (if need require) to 
help to fetch the after -birth, and her best care will bee to see that the 
woman and child bee fittingly and decently ordered with necessary con- 

The after-birth oft commeth of itself, yet it is not amisse to assist 
nature for the producing of it. 

There bee some midwives, that never offer to fetch the after-birth, 
but suffer nature to expell it, and their women have done well. 

I know a worthy good man, that had two children, at severall 
times, as good as born, before the midwife did, or could come unto his 

I have known severall women, that have -been delivered without 
a midwife. Therefore to have a midwife is not absolutely necessary, yet 
very convenient, to assist the woman, and so to avoid all future sus- 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

picions, and to free some of the looser sort from the danger of the 
statute-law, in case that the child should bee found dead. 

Let not women, turning niidwives, delude themselves, by think- 
ing, That this work will be learned by seeing a few women delivered, or 
by little practice, or by discourse, or by reading books, that it will suf- 
ficiently bee understood. All these bee good helps and inducements to 
shew them somewhat in the way of practice. But, in cases of danger, 
and in unnaturall births, without much practice, they will find them- 
selves ignorant, and at a stand, not knowing what path to follow, or 
what course to take for the woman's safety, or the saving of their own 

Every delivery hath taught mee something, or, at the least, hath 
confirmed my practice. 

For, although much practice enlighteneth the understanding, yet 
they shall sometimes find, That all bodies bee not alike, and that some 
unexpected newnes, or casualty, may happen in the mother, or in the 
child, or in the labour, or in most of them, the which I have sometimes 

I knew a woman, that was happily delivered of eighteen children, 
yet, through an accident, happening before her travailing, shee died of 
the nineteenth in the night after shee was delivered. 

I desire that all midwives may gain a good repute, and have a ' 
happy successe in all their undertakings; and that their knowledge, 
charity, and patience, with tender compassion, may manifest their worths 
among their women, and give their women just cause to love, honour, 
and to esteem them. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Let rnidwives pray to God to direct theni, and to blesse their 
women,, and that he would bee pleased to free them from all the dangers, 
& perilous accidents, happening sometimes in child-bed. 

And, in all their undertakings, ever to desire, That God would 
bee graciously pleased to inform their judgments, & to guide their hands, 
for the better helping, & saving of their women, and children, and, 
lastly, with submitting humblenes to implore his gracious mercy for 
mitigating their punishment, which is decreed and pronounced against 

" In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children.'" 

And let rnidwives read 12, 13, 14, & 15 verses of Zechariah, & 
consider the 15 verse, what God said, " I was but a little displeased, 
& the heathen helped forward the affliction," & in the 16 verse saith 
the Lord, " I am returned with mercyes." 

God was displeased with Eve, therefore he said, " In sorrow thou 
shalt bring forth children," not that hee would destroy her. Therefore 
let rnidwives endeavour to mitigate their women's sorrows, and no way 
augment them, by haling, and pulling their bodies, to help forward, & to 
increase their sufferings. 

Usually, before the time of delivery, three sorts of humours do 
come, and bee seen in most women. 

The first is slimy, and commeth by the dilatation of the outward, 
and inward orifice of the womb. Sometimes it commeth two, three, or 
four dayes before the travail, by little dabs, or like snot, and it doth 
much good, by opening, and moistening, and causing a slipperines in 
the outward parts of the body, for the more easy delivery. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

The second hath some small reddish straines or streakes in this 
slime, which appeareth, when the womb enclineth to opening, and the 
membranes begin to crack, before the issuing of the waters. 

The third is called, by the midwives, the water, in which the child 

Let mee perswacle and intreat the midwife, not to torment the 
poore woman, at the first comming of her paines, by putting her to 
kneel, or to sit on a woman's lap, or on the midwife's stoole, Jmt suffer 
her to walk gently, or to lie down on a truckle bed, having a warme 
closier to her body, and her cloths wrapped close about her, keeping her 
in a moderate temperature, not too hot, or too cold, but so, as shee may 
well endure, anointing the places, concerned in travail, with fresh butter, 
goose grease, capon's, or hen's fat, or balsamum hystericum, as occasion 

When the upper parts of the belly seem as if they were empty, 
and fallen, and the lower parts big, and full, then the child sinketh 
down, and this is a forerunner of labour. 

Dr. Harvy saith fol : 472 " Of the birth/' 

" The matrix being near delivery, doth bear down, groweth soft, 
and openeth its Orifice. The Waters also as they commonly call them, 
are Gathered, that is, a certain part of the chorion, in which the fore- 
said humour is conteined, doth usher in the Foetus, and slide down from 
the Matrix into the Vagina, or Sheath of the Womb : and the neigh- 
bouring parts also are loosened, and ready to distend : also the Articu- 
lation of the Holy bone, and the Share-bone to the Hanch-bone (which 
Copulation, or Articulation is by Synchondrosis, or a gristly ligament) 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


is so softened and losened, that the fore-said bones do easily give way to 
the parting Infant ; and by gaping open, do amplifie the whole region 
of the Hypogastrium, or Lower belly. And when these things are in 
this condition, it is certain that the Birth is at hand. And that so the 
fetus (like a ripe fruit) may come forth into the World, Nature makes 
this provision of dilating the parts." 

The words of Ambrose Parey, ch : 13. lib : 24, "Concerning the 
Generation of Man." 

" When the naturall prefixed and prescribed time of child-birth is 
come, the childe being then growne greater, requires a greater quantity 
of food : which when he cannot receive in sufficient measure by his 
navell, with great labour and striving hee endeavoureth to get forth : 
therefore then hee is moved with a stronger violence, and doth breake 
the membranes wherein he is contained. Then the wombe, because it 
is not able to endure such violent motions, nor to sustaine or hold up 
the childe any longer, by reason that the conceptacles of the membranes 
are broken asunder, is relaxed. And then the childe pursuing the aire 
which hee feeleth to enter in at the mouth of the wombe, which then is 
very wide and gaping, is carried with his head downewards, and so com- 
meth into the world, with great pain both unto it selfe, and also unto 
his mother, by reason of the tendernes of his body, & also by reason of 
the extension of the nervous necke of his mother's wombe, and sepa- 
ration of the bone called Os Ilium from the bone called Os sacrum. 
For unlesse these bones were drawne in sunder, how could not only 
twinnes that cleave fast together, but also one childe alone, come forth 
at so narrow a passage as the necke of the womb is ? Not onely reason, 
but also experience confirmeth it; for I have opened the bodies of 
women presently after they have died of travell in childe-birth, in whom 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

I have found the bones of Ilium to bee drawne the breadth of ones 
finger from Os sacrum : and moreover, in many unto whom I have been 
called being in great extremity of difficult and hard travelL I have not 
onely heard, but also felt the bones to crackle and make a noise, when I 
laid my hand upon the coccyx or rumpe, by the violence of the disten- 
tion. Also honest matrons have declared unto me that they themselves, 
a few daies before the birth, have felt & heard the noise of those bones 
separating themselves one from another, with great paine. Also a long 
time after the birth, many do feele great paine and ache about the region 
of the coccix and Os sacrum, so that when nature is not able to repaire 
the dissolved continuity of the bones of Ilium, they are constrained to 
halt all the dayes of their life after. But the bones of the share, called 
Ossa pubis, I have never seene to be separated, as many do also affirme. 
It is reported that in Italy they break the coccyx or rumpe in all maidens, 
that when they come to bee married they may beare children with the 
lesser travaile in childe-birth ; but tins is a forged tale, for that bone 
being broken, is naturally and of its owne accord repaired, and joyned 
together again with a Callus, whereby the birth of the childe will be 
more difficult and hard." 

But, in all my practice, I never observed such separation in the 
bones of Ilium from Os sacrum, as is mentioned by Dr. Harvey, or by 

It is reported, That the wild Irish women do break the ossa Pu- 
bis of the female infant, so soon as it is born, & I have heard some 
wandering Irish women affirm the same to bee true, and that they have 
wayes to keep these bones from uniting. It is for certain, that they bee 
easily, and soon delivered ; and I have observed, That many wanderers 
of that nation have had a wadling, & lamish gesture in their going. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


I knew a woman, nigh London, that had severall hard, difficult 
labours, with much sorrowfull sufferings in her travailing, before shee 
could bee delivered, and that shee was sometimes delivered by a man 
midwife. After each delivery shee was long weak in her loines and 
hips, and complained of much paine in those places, and shee went long 
wadling after each delivery. 

I have known two women in Darbyshire, the one, after delivery, 
complained much of weaknes, and paines, which shee for a time did 
constantly feele in her loines and hips; the other had the same sufferings, 
and they both went lamish, and wadling, above a moneth after their 
delivery, if not a longer time. 

There came a woman from Nottingham unto mee to Darby; 
some two yeares afore, both the bones of her arme were broken, and in 
all this time, the bones did not knit again. I applied lapis osthcocollse 
with whites of egges, and other astringents, and so splinted her arme, 
and then shee became able to lift up her hand, and hold light matters, 
the which shee could not do afore. But I cannot say, that the bones of 
her arme did again unite, or that her arme was any way usefull, longer 
than she had it wrapt in astringents, and splinted and rouled, for that 
shee came no more unto mee. Why may not the same thing happen to 
maids in os pubis, or coccygis, in respect of union, as it did to the arme 
of the Nottingham woman ? But Pareus saith, that these bones will 
joine together again with a Callus ; but why doth hee say, a little afore 
this place, that when nature is not able to repaire the dissolved conti- 
nuity of the bones Ilium, That women are constrained to halt all the dayes 
of their lives after ? The Irish women have affirmed, that they can 
keep the share-bone from uniting. And I saw and felt what I have 
written concerning the Nottingham woman's arme, and that it was most 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

true. Why may not the same disunion happen in os pubis, or coccygis? 
But I leave every one to his owne thoughts and belief. 

When paines begin to follow the woman, and signes of travaile 
appeare, then let the midwife enquire, when shee was at stool, or made 
water, least the intestinum rectum, being loaded with excrements, or the 
bladder, full of water, should presse the neck of the womb, and so 
hinder the birth, and make the labour more painful and difficult. 

Let, therefore, these passages of the body bee freed -of the excre- 
ments, either by a clyster, or a suppositer. But a clyster is more proper, 
and let it not exceed the quantity of six ounces, or, at the most, but 
half a pint. Let the labouring woman retain it as long as possibly shee 
can ; though it bee three or foure houres, or longer, or all night. At 
the discharging of it, it will bring away all excrements, and, through the 
long keeping of it, it will dilate, supple, and bedew, with its moisture 
all the passages, and stir up the expulsive faculty, and so cause a more 
easy delivery. 

But, if there happen unto her a loose stoole, or two, or more, 
before, or nigh her travaile, then you need not to give her a clyster, yet 
let the midwife move her to make water. 

When paines increase, and bee frequent, beginning at the back, 
and running all along the belly, without staying at the navel, and, chiefly, 
if they run all along the groin, and in the botome of the belly, and the 
thighes inwardly ; It is a great signe, that shee begins to fall into labour. 

Then let the midwife, having her finger anointed with Balsamum 
Hystericus, or some other ointment, feel the matrix, if she find the 
the orifice of the womb to open, and to dilate, shee may bee assured 
that shee is in travaile. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


All women bee not delivered after one fashion. Some desire to 
bee in, or on, their beds, others, to be sitting on the midwife's stool ; 
or on a woman's lap ; some kneeling ; others, standing, supported by two 
women, or hanging with their armes about their ne_cks. 

But the best, and safest, way is to bee delivered either in, or on 
their beds, or pallets, or kneeling, so that the woman bee strong, and 
the child lively, having their bodies decently covered, and the genitall 
parts kept warme. 

Having brought the woman to her bed, or pallet, raise her upper 
parts, by putting a bolster and pillow under her head, and a pillow under 
her back and hips, to raise them up, having her thighes kept asunder, 
her knees bowed, her heeles drawn upward, and to rest her feet, and to 
thrust them forward against something laid at the bed's feet. Let her 
bee well anointed with some of the afore-named ointments, alwayes keep- 
ing a warme closier to the birth-place. 

It is a usuall custom in some midwives, to roule up the cloths 
from the bed's feet, to come unto the woman's body, when that labour is 
on her. It is a better way, then to lay their cloths, as they kneel, on 
their hips ; her body and thighes, thus lying naked, the woman must 
needs take cold; and shee cannot bee altogether freed from suffering of cold 
by rouling up of the cloths. This is a more decent way. But, if the 
midwife will sit, or kneele, by the bed-side, in a natural birth, and put 
her hand under the clothings, or blankets, and so under the woman's 
thigh, pressing down the cloths close to her arme, then shee shall bee 
sure to keep all cold from the woman's body. "What should the mid- 
wife's hand do there more, then to anoint the woman's body with 
convenient oiles, or ointments, and to receive the child, at the instant 
time of delivery? 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

Before the womb doth open, and the waters issue, the midwife 
ought not to bee too officious, let her anoint the parts onely, and use 
her gently ; not alwayes, upon every sleight pain, or trifling throw, to 
bee thrusting her fingers into the birth-place. But, rather, to give her 
good, and comfortable words, and, if the child commeth right, to commit 
all the work to God's mercy, and not to disturb nature, (whose onely 
work it is) by giving of medicines to make throwes. Neither must shee 
go about to hasten the birth, by using any force to the woman's body, 
to dilate the passages by her hands and fingers. Such doings cause 
long, and difficult labours. 

Medicines, given too soon, send down humours too hastily, winch 
obstruct the passages, causing swellings in the genitall parts, and a more 
troublesome labour. 

It will bee sufficient to refresh her with mace-ale, or caudles, or 
a little wine and Alkermes, and to anoint her body with Balsamum 
Hystericum, or other oiles. 

The midwife's office, or duty, in a naturall birth, is no more, but 
to receive the child, and, afterward, to fetch the after-birth, if need 

Therefore let me perswade all midwives, not to do any thing 
hastily, or by force, to enlarge the passages, in hopes of a speedy delivery, 
much lesse to let forth the waters, by breaking, or tearing the mem- 
branes. Such doings bee hurtfull both to the mother and child, for the 
midwife ought to bee quiet, and, with patience, to wait on nature untill 
they do break, or crack, of themselves. 

Ambrosius Pareus saith. "In the time of child-birth, when the 
infant by kicking breaketh the membranes, those humours runne out, 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman, 


which when the midwifes perceive,, they take it as a certaine signe that 
the childe is at hand. For if the infant come forth together with those 
waters, the birth is like to be more easie, and with the better successe ; 
for the necke of the wombe and all the genitalis are so by their moisture 
relaxed and made slippery, that by the endeavour and stirring of the 
infant the birth will be the more easie, and with the better successe" 

There bee some midwives, that, through ignorance, or impatience, 
or being hastened to go to some other woman's labour, do teare the 
membranes with their nailes, or cut them with scissers, and let forth the 
waters, to the great hurt and danger both of the mother, and the child. 

The waters being issued, and voided before the appointed time, 
yea, often, before the child bee well turned in the womb, hath been the 
death of severall children, and oft hath endangered the travailing woman's 

If the infant bee not excluded before all these humours bee 
wholly flowed out, and gone forth, but that it remaineth, as it were, in 
a dry place, presently, through drines, the neck of the womb, and all 
the neighbouring parts, will be contracted, and drawn together, so that 
the birth of the child will bee very difficult, and hard to bee performed ; 
unles the neck of the womb, to amend that default, bee anointed with 
oile, or some other relaxing liquor, to make the parts slippery both with- 
in, and without ; as oile of sweet almonds, or lilies, and a whole egge, 
yolk and white, beaten and all mixed together, and poured into the 
privy passage, to make it glib, in stead of the waters that are run forth 
too soon; and, for this purpose, the anointing and putting into the 
body the Hysterical! Balsam will prove most excellent. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

Before the waters flow, the infant, by its own strength, may turn 
in the womb, but, afterward, it cannot, through the drines of the parts 
contracted and drawne together ; and so oft it commeth in a difficult 
way of delivery. 

One Mrs. Jane Wildbore, that I lately delivered in Darby, per- 
ceived (as shee assured mee afterward) that shee felt the child scrabling, 
with Iris fingers, at the mouth of the womb, before the waters flowed. 
I felt the same, and was much troubled at it, fearing an unnaturall birth. 
I acquainted others with my fears, but I said nothing to her (for feare 
of disquieting her) or shee to mee. At the flowing of the waters, tins 
child, through Iris own strength, turned downward, and pitched his head 
into the birth-place, and shee was soon delivered, July the 20, 1667. 

"When some midwives bee puzled, or, through ignorance, have 
committed some unhandsome doings, by tearing the membranes, and 
that the infant, for want of moisture, doth not descend, but abideth un- 
moveable in the womb, by slirinking of the membranes through drines 
of the parts, then presently they say, that the child commeth crosse, or 
that the head of it is pitched in the flank, or that the child lieth over- 
thwart the womb. And then they send for a man midwife. 

One Mrs. K. P., a London midwife, being to go to another 
woman, in hopes to deliver her woman quickly (as, upon my inquiry 
shee confessed privately to mee) did teare the membranes. All the 
waters issued suddenly forth; the child being deprived of moisture, 
perished in the womb. The next day shee desired my assistance, and 
told me that the child's head lay in the woman's hip ; but I could find 
no such thing, neither could I reach the child with my finger. Of my 
opinion was another midwife. Shee, finding that I would not bee too 
hasty to work, as shee desired, in my absence, the better to save her 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


credit, shee caused another man to bee sent for. Hee was of my opin- 
ion, yet told tins midwife, That hee would send her a medicine to pro- 
cure labour, and that at night, hee would come again. Then hee drew 
the child with his instrument, and the woman hardly escaped with life, 
being long afterward sickly and weak. And all this misery was occa- 
sioned through the midwife's folly, by tearing the membranes, and let- 
ting forth the waters too suddenly ; for the more leisurely the waters 
dribble, the easier will be the delivery. 

Let the midwife patiently observe, and wait on nature's time and 
ways, and, when some waters begin to drible in small quantity, consider, 
whether this issue commeth with pain, or without any disquieting. 
For Dr. Harvy saith, That, in some women, at severall times such fluxes 
(which midwives call by-waters) have issued forth, in the midst of the 
going with child, without abortion. 

In this case, let the woman keep her bed, or rest much on it ; 
lying quiet, and stirring little, so these fluxes may cease again. How- 
ever, shee may go a longer time, and, at the last, bee safely delivered, yet 
it threateneth some danger of miscarrying. 

This midwife, K. F., was with a woman in the Strand, from 
whom, by pashes, and driblets, the waters issued three or four dayes, or 
longer, before her delivery. The midwife, being ignorant, and not know- 
ing what to do, pretended a visit to mee, (which was not usuall) but, at 
the last, shee asked my opinion in the aforenamed case. I told her, 
That, in many women, the water issued for severall dayes, and at 
severall times, and yet, that the woman did well, and, in due time was 
safely delivered. Shee much wondered at my words, shee blest herself, 
and said, That shee never heard the same afore. Whilst that the Apo- 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

thecary was preparing, by my directions, some medicines for her, shee 
hasted again unto her woman, and left her daughter to bring them. 

Shee was with the woman not a quarter of an hour, but the 
waters flowed again, in a larger quantity, with throwes, and the child, 
within a very little space, followed them, and so her credit was saved, 
and shee confirmed in a practick way, that shee knew not afore. For 
winch kindnes this old midwife, afterward, gave mee thanks. 

Guillimeau saith, That there bee some women, that have these 
waters issue out, and come away, long before they are ready to he down. 
Hee reporteth that, of late memory, Mad : Arnault, who having gone 
6 or 7 moneths, and troubled with a great colick, that had held her al- 
most two moneths, and took her every day at certaine houres ; shee 
being at her house hi the countrey, intreated him that hee would come to 
see her, and to have lus advice and counsell, whether it were fit for her 
to come into the city, winch he advised her to do, both because of the 
great pain shee had, and also for her. exceeding greatness, being of opini- 
on that shee might have two children. Being come to Paris, her colick 
was somewhat mitigated, and a little while after shee voided two or three 
gallons of water, without any pain, thinking verily that shee was not 
with cliild ; yet, five dayes after, shee was delivered very happily, and 
with little pain, of a fane daughter, there following very little water, or 
none at all. 

Hee saith, That hee saw another Lady, in whom these waters 
came away above ten dayes before her delivery. Yet shee kept not her 
bed, but followed her ordinary busines. 

Therefore let not the midwife bee too bold, to hasten delivery, ex- 
cept the paines bee proper for travaile. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


When the waters, by the paines, and strivings of the mother, or 
by the enforcements of the child, shall bee newly broken out, and that 
throwes bee strong, and increasing, then let the midwife, with what con- 
venience may bee, place herself nigh to the travailing woman, and, hav- 
ing her hand anointed, feel the matrix, that shee may the better find 
whether the child commeth naturally, or not. 

If, in feeling, shee perceive that there is an hard, and equall 
roundnes, it is most likely to bee the head of the child, and that it 
commeth naturally. If shee feele any unevenes, shee may suspect the 

When the midwife shall perceive that the birth commeth well, 
and according to nature, and that the child's head is pitched in the 
birth, (the which they call a naturall birth) and that the throwes follow, 
and increase upon the woman, and that the child doth endeavour to 
come forth, and that the womb doth strain, and force itself to bee freed 
of the burden : Then let the midwife encourage the woman, intreating 
her to bear down her throwes, to hold in her breath, by stopping her 
mouth, and to strain downward, as though shee would break wind, or 
go to stoole, and not to hinder her labour by sucking in her breath, or 
lamenting her sufferings ; and let her assure her with comfortable words, 
That the child is ready at hand to come into the world, and that shee 
will soon be delivered by putting her endeavours to the work. 

But if, at this time, labour should begin to flag, and throwes 
decrease, toward the latter end of the woman's travaile, it would bee 
convenient to give a dose of the midwife's powder, to quicken the child's 
expulsion, and it will much advance the woman's delivery. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

And then, and ever, let the midwife forbeare to use violence, 
which liindereth the birth, through much haling, or pulling, or stretch- 
ing those tender parts. 

Such doings create paines, with swellings and sorenes, and make 
the labouring woman unwilling to endure her labour, and the putting 
down of her throwes ; and, severall times, this too much officiousnes 
causeth evil accidents to follow, as tearing the body, sores, and ulcers, 
or flouding and scouring. All winch, in childbed, bee found too oft 
dangerous, and they may prove fatall. 

Let the labouring woman herself, or some assisting woman, (as 
occasion urgeth) gently presse downward, with the palm of her hand, 
the upper parts of the woman's belly ; stroaking, and putting the 
child downward by little and little ; and let every one encourage the 
woman with good hopes, that her sufferings will quickly bee at an end, 
and that such paines bee incident to all women in their travaile. 

This pressure hastens the delivery, and quickeneth the throwes, 
and maketh the labour more easy to bee endured. 

When the child's head doth offer itself, the midwife must gently 
receive it with both her hands ; afterward, when the woman's throwes 
increase, or, without them, shee may draw forth the child's shoulders, 
by sliding up her fingers under the child's armepit, and easily nudging 
the child's body toward the other side, slightly drawing with her ringers ; 
so will the rest of the body quickly follow, which must not bee pulled 
forth hastily, or rashly from the woman's body. 

So soon as the child is born, let the midwife fetch the after-birth, 
the navel-string will guide her to it, by which shee may gently move the 
after-birth from side to side, to make it separate from the womb through 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


that motion. It usually descendeth with the child, and lyeth in the 
vagina uteri (the sheath of the womb) like a loose handkerchief in 
one's pocket. Let the midwife gather it leasurely into her hand, and 
hold it gently, without squeezing, then cause the woman to cough, 
sneeze, or boken, and, whilest she is so doing, let the midwife sleightly 
draw it away. This coughing and sneezing, or bokening, by pressing 
the belly together, doth, of itself, thrust forth the midwife's hand, and 
the after-birth. 

If the womb shall be found very moveable, and loose (as some- 
times it is, when the belly hath been greatly stretched out, through the 
greatnes of the child, and multitude of the humours) in this case let 
the midwife cause some other woman to lay her flat hands on the sides 
of the woman's belly and navel, and gently to presse them together, and 
to stroke her belly downward, whilest that shee draweth the after-birth 
from her. 

Sometimes the after-birth doth not descend into the vagina uteri, 
but is retained in the body of the womb, and this will prove difficult 
and troublesome to the midwife to fetch, and few know how to do it, 
and they had better to let it alone unfetched, then to keep much strug- 
ling in the woman's body. Nature, with time, will expell it, with the 
giving of such medicines as enforce the birth, and keep open the womb. 

In this case, let the understanding midwife anoint her hand, and 
follow the navel-string, which will lead her to the mouth of the womb ; 
if it be shut, or somewhat closed, let her, by degrees, with her anointed 
fingers, open the womb, and, having gotten to the after-birth, let her 
shake it a little by the navel-string, and, being loosened, gather it 
leasurely into her hand, and then cause the woman to cough, boken, or 
sneeze, and shee will the easier bring it forth by these enforcements. 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

The after -burden is easiest drawn forth when the woman kneeleth. 

Some women cause two bags of linen cloth to bee made, and to 
bee filled with warm salt. These bags they will the woman to hold hard 
in her hands, nigh as high as her breast, close together, and then to 
bend her back and head forwards, and lifting up, and stretching abroad 
her elbowes, with strong blasts, or puffes, to blow on these bags, and, 
with this motion, the after-birth will bee driven forth. 

When the woman is freed from the after-birth, let her be laid in 
a warm bed. Let the midwife permit her to He on which side shee 
pleaseth, a little groveling, pulling somewhat up her feet, and sometimes 
to hold her breath a little, and sleightly to strain downward, as though 
shee would break wind, and to stroke, with her own hands, her belly 
towards her navel and flanks, when that shee finds any disquietings in 
her body. By these wayes all clods of blood, and what might casually 
bee left remaining in the womb, will be expelled, and driven forth. And, 
at the woman's desire, let her turne on the other side, keeping her feet 
warm, with the rest of her body. Tor which intent, shee may keep on 
her stockins, to avoid cold, and lay warm woollens to her feet, for cold 
is hurtfull to a woman hi child-bed. 

By such doings the woman will bee much refreshed, and eased 
in her sufferings, and there will happen no inconveniency, by lying on 
either side, as shee best liketh, contrary 'to the thoughts of foolish 
opinionated midwives. 

If it be feared, That some part of the after-birth should remaine 
unfetched away, do not again make a new searching for it in the womb ; 
but lay emplastrum Hystericum, or Galbanum, spread on leather, to the 
navel, and anoint the birth-place with Balsamum Hystericum, and anoint 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


under her nostrils with oile of amber, or smel to Galbanum, and all 
will succeed well, and, usually, after a refreshing sleep, when that the 
woman maketh water, the remaining part will come away, and, with the 
water, it droppeth into the chamber-pot. 

A Scholemaster's wife in Staffordshire sent for mee, and said, that 
shee expected that day, or that night ensuing, to bee delivered, and was 
troubled, for that shee was disappointed by her midwife, and desired my 
assistance. I intreated her to keep her warm bed. At six o' clock that 
night shee sent again for mee. At present, there were little signs of la- 
bour, but ordinary grumblings, and grinding paines. But within a 
little space afterward shee had throws. Having my finger anointed, I 
found that the womb began to open. Presently after, a second throw 
followed, and the waters gathered, and did much increase. After the 
third throw the waters flowed, and a living child followed the waters, 
and was easily borne. The after-birth was immediately fetched and shee 
was speedily, and happily, delivered, Anno 1649. 

A naturall 

This birth was so speedy, that the woman had not time to turn 
herself, but the child was borne as shee lay on her side. 

But Goodwife Ann Frith, a woman in Derby, 1646, having a hard 
and long labour, was much haled and pulled by her midwife, that hoped, 
through much tugging, quickly to deliver her. So that the lips of the 
vulva were greatly swelled, and turned outward, and became discoloured, 
with sundry colours. 

The midwife, supposing these swellings to be part of the after- 
birth, thrust her fingers into them ; forthwith the blood spirted on the 
midwife's face, and ran down her gorget. Upon this I was sent for. 

A naturall 
birth made 


Observations in Midwifery \ by 

I found the child dead, I drew it with the crochet, 
weaknes, and lived about twenty yeares afterward. 

Shee recovered her 

By these reports you may see nature's wayes. In the first, how 
easily shee was helped, in due time, by warm keeping, without strug- 
ling. In the second, the ill event ; through too much officious igno- 
rance of the midwife, crossing nature by her strivings, and starving the 
birth with cold. 

Dr. Harvey saith, That, in a natural and genuine birth, two things 
are required, winch are assistant the one to the other ; that is to say, the 
woman in travaile, and the foetus, which is to bee produced. Both 
which, except they bee ripe for the busines, the birth is hardly succes- 
full. For if the fetus, being disquieted, and coveting to bee enlarged, 
do prevent his parent, by exciting her, and offering violence to her 
womb : Or, if the mother, by reason of her infirmity of her retention 
(as if her womb were disturbed with a kind of nauseousnes) or, by some 
necessity of expulsion, bee beforehand with the infant ; the birth is to 
be reputed a disease, or symptome, rather than a naturall, or criticall 
production. As also, when some parts of the conception escape out, and 
others are still retained within, namely, if the foetus attempt a depar- 
ture ere the after -burden bee dismissed from the sides of the womb : or 
else the after-burden, on the contrary, bee loose from the uterus, the 
foetus being not rightly composed, nor the uterus relaxed, for the accom- 
modation of the work. 

And, therefore, the younger, more giddy, and officious midwives 
are to bee rebuked, which, when they hear the women in travail cry out 
for pain, and call for help, least they should seem unskilfull, and lesse 
busy then comes to their share, by daubing their hands over with oiles, 
and distending the parts of the uterus, do mightily bestir themselves, 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


and provoke the expulsive faculty by medicinall potions ; so that, being 
impatient of a competent expectation, by their desire to hasten and pro- 
mote the birth, they do rather retard and pervert it, and make it an 
unnaturall and difficult delivery ; and, leaving the membranes, or some 
part of the after-burden, still adherent to the womb, they do both expose 
the poor woman to the injuries of the aire, and, vainly perswading them 
to their stooles, weary them out, and bring them in danger of their 

Hee saith farther, That it is much happier with poor women, and 
those that dare not own their great bellies, where the midwives help is 
never required. Tor the longer they retain and retard the birth, the 
easier and more successful proves the delivery. 

In the unfortunate dayes, when Sir John Gell Baronet, then 
Colonell of Darby, and Mr. Thomas Gell, Iris brother, Lieutenant and 
Eecorder of Darby, and Mullanus Evankt Iris Major Lieutenant, and 
Mr. Dolton, Major, Anno 1647, There happened that a comely, well fa- 
voured servant was gotten with child in Darby. Nobody mistrusted her 
belly. Shee lay in the same room, where her mistris lodged, in a 
truckle bed, at her bed's feet, where, in the night, shee was delivered 
without any midwife, not making any noise, or uttering any sorrowfull 
complaint. Presently after her delivery shee arose, and took up the 
child, and carried it away into a remote place, and hid it in the botom 
of a feather-tub, and covered it with feathers, and so returned to her 
bed again, and was not mistrusted by her mistris, or any one of the 

A most easy 

birth without 

the midwife's 


It was then the custome of Darby souldiers to peep in the night 
through windows, where they espied light. By them her secret doings 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

were discovered, and at the Sessions in Darby shee had, afterward, her 

But, in those lawles dayes, the Jury would not find her guilty of 
murder, for that shee was an handsome, comely creature, and beloved of 
the souldiers, that then pitied her misfortunes. For which reason John 
Shaw, the foreman of the Jury, pitying the woman, and willing to in- 
gratiate the souldiers to bee his friends, would not find her guilty, and 
said, hee thought it no reason that a woman should be hanged for a 
mistaken harsh word or two in the Statute. 

The souldiers smiled, and rejoyced at her delivery. But some of 
Darby Magistrates frowned, and were offended, but they durst not 
shew, or utter their thoughts in words, or deeds, for the cause afore- 

I have heard simple women much to commend haling, torturing 
midwives, and to account them good and expert in their callings. For 
that, in the woman's labour, they took great paines to deliver them, and 
that the sweat did run down their faces, in performing of their work to 
deliver their women. 

But, surely, these women never felt their doings, and I know that 
it may prove a blessed happines, to travailing women, to have such mid- 
wives at a remote and great distance to bee sent for, when the paines 
first approach. So they may escape severall tortures and mischiefes, 
procured by such midwives. 

In the meane time, friendly nature, the best of midwives, keepeth 
them warm, and quiet, on, or in, their beds, putting them to no harsh 
usage in the midwife's absence; and, through her mildnes, and 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


comfortable assistance, the child is oft easily bom, before the laborious, 
and ignorant midwife commeth. 

Frequent reports have often published the very same truth, from 
the mouths of such poor, unfortunate creatures, as have publickly la- 
mented their mishaps, before their downfall under the gallows. 

I have known severall creatures of this gang, and their fellow fol- 
lowers in ill fortunes. But I never heard that any of them complained 
of a painfull, or hard delivery ; but that nature left them so strong, that 
they were able to go about their usuall works, and to perform their ser- 
vices, without making any halt in their employments. 

I was well acquainted with a servant, that worked all the day 
long without any dismaying or complaint, Anno 1651. A little space 
before supper shee went to bed. After supper one of the Ladie's 
daughters came to see what ailed her. Shee, poor creature, turned the 
cloths of the bed, and shewed her a child, as good as born, without any 
midwife's help, and shee and the child did well, and they both were 
living 1669. 

E. T., of Hampton Bidway, This unfortunate woman, being in bed 
with her sister, rose up, and went into an out-house, and there was de- 
livered of a child. Shee returned quickly again into her bed. Her go- 
ing and returning was not perceived by her sleeping sister. Being mis- 
trusted by her neighbours, and some woman, upon suspicion, being sent 
to search her, without any ado shee confessed her wickedness, and showed 
them the place where the child was buried. Shee was asked by the 
Coroner, why shee had not a midwife to assist and help her in her la- 
bour. Shee answered, that shee needed no help, or assistance, and that 
shee was well enough delivered without a midwife, and that shee was so 

Ara easy 
naturall birth. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

well, that shee could have gone twenty miles the day following. Shee 
was sent to Stafford Gaole, from thence shee was conveyed to the place 
of execution, where shee ended her sorrowful! life with great repentance 
Mar. 31, 1670. 

i And why may not this woman's confession bee received, without 
any other testimony, to confirm what I have oft said, and severall wo- 
men have found to bee very true, That midwives bee very convenient to 
assist travailing women, but that they bee not absolutely necessary, to 
help in their extremities, unles it bee in an unnaturall and difficult birth. 

And this is recorded by Dr. Harvey. The memorable relation 
was delivered to him from the noble Lord, George Carew, Baron of Tot- 
nes, and, for a long time, President of Munster in Ireland, who also 
wrote the Annals of those times. 

There was a woman, big with child, which followed her husband, 
who was a souldier in the Army, being daily in motion, was, it seemes, 
forced to make a halt, by reason of a little river, that ran crosse the 
place, whither they intended to march. Whereupon the poor woman, 
finding her labour come upon her, retired to the next thicket; and 
alone by her selfe, without any midwife, or other preparation, brought 
forth twins, which shee presently carried to the river, and there washed 
both her self, and them, which done, shee wrapt the infants in a course 
cloth, and tied them to her back, and that very day marched along with 
the Army twelve miles together barefooted, and was never the worse for 
the matter. 

The next day after, the Deputy of Ireland, the Lord M ountjoy 
(who, at that time, was Generall of the Army against the Spaniard at 
the seige of Kinsale) and the President of Munster, being affected at 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


the strangnes of the story, did both vouchsafe to bee Godfathers to the 

There is a generall report That the wild Irish, when their pangs 
of labour come on them, will arise, and leave their company, and, going 
into a ditch, will there bee suddenly delivered. And, returning from 
thence, will bring their infants wrapped in their coats with them. 

I believe that their doings may bee paralleled by some of our En- 
glish women. For there was a great woman's servant, whose breasts 
were pressed, and her belly violated by her master's misdeeds. 

In time, when shee did grow big, her mistrisse, perceiving that 
all was not right honest with her, turned her out of her house. 

This creature, going over a larg, long Co mm on, was suddenly 
surprized with pangs of labour, and there delivered in the open cold aire. 

After the Irish mode, shee brought this infant (her son) home to 
her friends, shee was not dismaid, or injured with the coldnes of the 
place, shee well recovered, her son, being well nursed, and educated be- 
came a lusty man. Hee lived long, and died master of a great estate. 

Dr. William Sermon saith in his English Midwife, fol: 96, That 
it would be almost a miracle to see a woman delivered without paine. 
Though I am apt to beleeve, that the wife of Thomas James did enjoy 
that happines, whom I saw delivered of a lusty child, in a wood by her 
self, which presently after shee took the child, and put it into her a- 
pron, with some oaken leaves, and marched stoutly with it almost half a 
mile, to an uncle's house of mine ; where shee got sufficient entertain- 
ment for the time shee would stay, and, within two houres, her child, 
and her self, being refreshed, shee would no longer bee treated; but, in 

2 p 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

the manner aforesaid, (linen which the child had about it, onely excepted) 
took her journey a long mile farther, not in the lest discouraged; and, 
the next day, came and returned hearty thanks. This accident happen- 
ed as shee walked home-ward from a market-town, in the yeare 1644; 
the manner of which I saw, being, accidentally, placed under a hedg 
(purposely,) to shoot a hare, that I knew frequented the place where 
shee was delivered. 

But Dr. Jacobus Primrose saith in his cap: 7 , de difficili partu, 
fol: 300, Nee absq: dolore partus naturalis fieri solet. Malum eiiim est 
si ille evanescat, ut in muliere gravida observavi, quse subinde laborans 
absq: ullis torminibus, et obstetricis ope, exclusit foetmn, quern claman- 
tem adstantes mulieres audiverunt, hincq: mortem prredixi, quee sequenti 
die secuta est. 

In the dayes of ignorance I was requested by a Gentlewoman to 
assist her midwife in the time of her labour. 

The Gentlewoman then knew no way usefull for her delivery, and 
I, at that time, knew very little of the handy operation of midwives, 
more then by drawing with the crochet. So I gave way unto the mid- 
wife to hale, and pul, and stretch the woman's body as shee pleased, not 
knowing then any better practice. So the midwife tormented her from 
six in the morning untill six at night, using violence to the birth-place, 
and, sometimes, in the fundament; upon every small throw haling and 
stretching her body, to enlarg the passages, keeping her all this long 
time either kneeling, or sitting on a woman's lap. 

God released the woman from the midwife's tortures, and both 
our ignorances, in sending her a gracious delivery after much suffering. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman 


Being with child the second time, shee was much disquieted with 
fears, and wept, to think what shee had suffered, and was likely again 
to undergo. Shee desired again my company to bee with her in her la- 
bour. I Avillingly granted her request, and desired her to keep her self 
warm and quiet in bed, untill I could come in unto her, in case that I 
was not at home. 

Grumbling paines came upon her in the night, the next morning 
shee sent early unto mee a messenger to acquaint mee with her condi- 
tion. I was twelve miles from her house; within two or three houres 
after her messenger was gone, the birth so much approached that shee 
was forced to arise. Shee sent for her midwife to come; whilest that 
shee hastily bound up her head, at the midwife's comming shee was 
quickly delivered, troubling her no more but to receive the child. 

I hasted to go with her messenger. I found her, at my com- 
ming, easily and safely delivered, and chearfull, and shee, with the child, 
in a good, lively condition. ' 

After this time being in Staffordshire with a worthy good man, T 
saw his wife great with child. Shee told mee what terrible afflictions 
shee had suffered in the birth of her first child, and wept much at the 
remembrance of them. Shee intreated mee that I would come unto her 
in the time of her labour, and for that purpose shee would send good 
horses for mee. I gave her instructions to lie quietly in, or on, her bed 
untill 1 could come in unto her, and not suddenly to put herself under 
her midwife's hands. Shee sent mee horses. I went eight miles unto 
her. In the mean time shee kept her body warm, and lay quiet. So 
soone as I was come shee sent for mee into her chamber. Going with 
her midwife apart from the company, I asked her how this Gentlewoman 


Mrs. Shaw, 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

Goad wife 


was, and what shee thought of the birth. Shee replied, That shee could 
not tell, and that in all her days shee never was with so peevish a 
woman, and that shee would not suffer her to touch her body. I sate 
by this Gentlewoman a little space, and, perceiving that labour came 
upon her, I went forth of the roome, putting her under the midwife's 
hands. The waters issued without enforcement, presently the child 
followed them, and shee was easily, and quickly, delivered. 

When I went away, shee gave God thanks, and said, that her 
paines were nothing, in comparison to what shee had formerly suffered. 

I have delivered, through God's gracious permission, a Gentle- 
woman of severall children. I alwayes entreated her to keep herself warm 
in bed, or else rest much on her pallet; and, if that shee was bound in her 
body, alwayes take a washing clyster before her labour approached ; and 
in no way to force her labour. I did not compel her to keep her bed or 
pallet, but desired her, in the time of her travaile, not to have her 
chamber thronged with much company. 

'Shee ever performed my desires, shee was alwayes delivered on a 
pallet- bed. I never forced her body; but, after the issuing of the wa- 
ters with a few through throwes, shee was ever happily, and quickly, de- 
livered, by warm keeping, with quietness. 

From the bodies of these three last women mentioned, as also in 
others I took this observation, That those women were easiest, or soonest 
delivered, that kept themselves warm, and quiet, in, or on, their beds or 
pallets, deferring their labours to the very last, and patiently suffering 
nature to bedew, with humours, those places, and so to mellow and 
open, by degrees, their bodies, without midwives enforcements. 

Being in Allhallowes Church in Darby at morning prayer, there 
was a young woman prayed for that was in great extremity in travaile. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


That night,, about nine of the clock, some women came to me, 
desiring my counsel! for her delivery. 

I appointed an ordinary clyster and willed. That shee should have, 
after that it came from her, two ounces of oile of sweet almonds, mixed 
with posset drink, given her to drink ; yet, for all this, the extremities, 
with tortures in her back, continued, and no labour followed. Her 
midwife was crosse-gained, and sufficiently ignorant, and a great tugger 
of womens bodies. 

In her sufferings, about half an houre past twelve in the night, 
shee called all the women hard hearted Jewes, for that they did not send 
for mee. 

I came to her about one of the clock in that night, shee had great 
tortures in her back, the which I caused to be anointed with oile of 
charity, and, afterward, to her back I laid the emplaster de smegmate, 
spread on leather. 

So the bitter paines were somewhat mitigated. I gave her the 
quantity of a great nutmeg of Lucatella's Balsam, wrapped in a wafer, 
nevertheless her paines continued very sharp. 

I anointed the os pubis and os coccygis and the birth-part with 
Balsamum hystericum, and conveyed a spoonfull of it to os matricis, then 
presently the pain removed from the back, the womb opened, and the 
waters gathered and soon flowed, and shee was, in a small space, 
quickly delivered of a lusty living daughter. When the after -burden 
was fetched I gave her a spoonfull of oile of charity, it freed her from 
all after troubles, which formerly were grievous unto her, and shee was 
delivered that night afore two of the clock, June the 20, 1661. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

Dr. Harvey saith, That it is no novelty to experienced midwives 
that their women do sometimes bring forth their conceptions whole and 
entire, without any breach in the membranes at all. 

xlnd this kind of birth seemeth to bee the most naturally wherein 
the fcetus (like a mellow fruit which droppeth from the tree, without 
shaking out its seed before the time assigned by nature) is born with 
the secundines embracing it. 

But where it commeth otherwise to passe, and that the after-bur- 
den doth adhere to the uterus, after the child is borne it is oftentimes 
hardly divided from it, and doth enduce evil symptomes, which are ac- 
companied with noisome smels, and sometimes with a gangrene, whereby 
the mother is brought into imminent danger. 

Margaret Cliffe, the wife of Thomas, a weaver, dwelling at Newton 
in Staffordshire, January the 7, 1671, this woman was delivered of 
twins, the first was a boy, the second came inclosed in the secondine, 
and was a female ; the midwife laid this birth in her lap, and opened 
the secondine, and took forth the child. Life "was scarce perceived in 
it, but, by laying the after -birth on hot coales, and stroking the navel- 
string toward the belly, the child recovered and liveth. This was 
certified to mee by Margaret Kempe, midwife at Abbots Bramley, that 
laid her of these, two twins. 

I never did see a birth in this kind, where the child was borne 
with the secondine embracing it ; for midwives, in difficult, long tra- 
vailes, break the membranes with their struglings, before they send for 
mee. But this following report maketh mention of a birth somewhat 
nigh unto Dr. Harvey's sayings : 

A young, good conditioned, Lady (the Lady Byron) of an honour- 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


able family, desired my company, and intreated me to bee with her, and 
to assist her in the time of her travaile, and in the meane space to di- 
rect her what was convenient to bee done, or observed by her. For 
severall weeks shee used the Hystericall Balsam, with which the birth- 
place, the ossa pubis et coccygis were anointed, and rubbed in with a 
soft hand, very gently, every night, against a warme fire. Shee could 
not take Lucatella's Balsam, nor a julep, made of aqua parietarise et 
syrupi capil : veneris, these made her vomit. I gave her figs, and willed 
her to eat white bread toasts, with fresh butter, every morning. Shee 
had a thin and weak body, and was troubled with great feares, never 
having any child afore. 

August the thirteenth the moone changed, that night shee had 
some grumbling disquiets, and the ensuing night they increased. 
Thursday, August the fifteenth, I came early in the morning to her, 
and finding some foregoing signes of labour, at her desire shee was re- 
moved into another chamber, and laid into a truckle bed about seven in 
the morning. 

Shee had some intermissions of her paines, and then she slum- 
bered ; shee was kept quiet and warm in her bed, in a moderate tem- 
perature of heat. In the afternoon, about one of the clock, the womb 
began to open, and the waters leasurely gathered, the child descended 
with them, and the head was as good as three quarters in the world be- 
fore any water issued. About a quarter past foure shee was delivered 
of a daughter. It was troublesome to fetch the after-burden as shee 
lay on her back. Shee was put to her knees, and then it was obtained 
easily, and so shee was then removed into another bed. 

Shee had good, easy labour, and was not, afterward, disquieted 
with any sorenes. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

Sliee was apt to a loosnes, and, in that respect, I did not give her 
the balsamum post partum, but, instead of it, shee had caroway comfits, 
of which shee chewed at pleasure, and swallowed the moisture. 

The ensuing night shee slept well, and the day following was free 
from smart and paine. Saturday and Sunday her breasts began to 
swell, but without all trouble shee applied the emplaster Diachilon unto 

The child was baptized Aug. 22, 1661, and was named Elizabeth. 
Aug. the 23, I left this Lady, giving her thanks for her loving favours 
to mee. Tins Lady and her child were living 1666, as also in 8 ber the 
4 th , 1671. 

Tliis Lady, afterward, did make choice of a midwife that dwelt 
some seven miles from her. Shee alwayes sent for her after that shee 
began to bee in travaile. Before shee came unto her the child was 
ready prepared to come into the world, and the midwife was put to no 
more trouble, but to receive it. 

And this passage may make apparent to all labouring women, 
That it will prove a great happines to have haling, laborious midwives 
at a remote distance, when their paines of labour first approach. And 
I have heard other women say, That some of their children were more 
easier borne, then others of them, and that they were delivered so soon 
as the midwife came. 

Let mee assure such women that, through ignorance, praise these 
haling midwives without desert; That they had a better, invisible mid- 
wife to assist them, Dame Nature, then these ever were, or will bee ; 
which Eve's midwife, through quiet and warm keeping, did so prepare 
and made the birth ready for another midwife's comming, that shee had 

Percivall Willugliby, Gentleman. 


left her nothing more to do, but to receive the child, and fittingly to 
dresse and order it. And all women would do better to make such 
liiidwive's nursekeepers, rather then (such as they would be called) 

And this Dame Nature, Eve's midwife, hath easily, and fortu- 
nately delivered severall women in the absence of these laborious 
midwives, whilest thai some other occasions withstood their speedy 

I have known severall women, that have had two children at a 
birth, some that have had three at a birth, none, that have had more, 
though others have affirmed that they have known more. 

When I find twins, so soon as the first is borne, I, presently after, 
put up my hand anointed, and fetch the other. If the membranes were 
not broken, I did not feare to break them, and then to draw the second 
child forth by the feet. 

I was called to a tayWs wife in Darby, Elizabeth Elde, her mid- 
wife had long strugled with her. The child offering an arme, shee had 
pulled by it, in hopes, to draw the child forth from the woman's body 
by her violent doings. The child's arme was made black, and much 
swel'd, and the child was deprived of life, and the arme became mor- 
tified. The poor woman was fearfull of my help, but I, with others, 
gave her good comfortable words. Shee was perswaded, and submitted 
to the women's desires. 

After that I had placed a woman sitting on a truckle bed, with 
her legs spread abroad, and her feet close to the ends of a short bolster, 
laying a pillow on her lap, I desired this labouring woman to kneele on 
the bolster, and to straddle as wide as shee could. 1 put her head 


Arm . 

Gret - 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

down to rest on the pillow that was in the woman's lap. I did not re- 
duce, or put up, the bruised arnie, but, sliding my hand along the child's 
side, I found a foot, and did draw it forth. I quickly obtained the 
other foot, and then I did draw gently both feet together. The arme 
went up of it self, as the body of the child turned round. I brought 
the child past the navel, and turned the face of it to the back of the 
woman. T put my finger into the child's mouth, and so pressed down 
the chin upon the throat ; and then again I drew gently by the feet with 
my other hand, and shee was quickly delivered with ease, contrary to all 
the thoughts of the women present hi the chamber, of a dead female 

And, for- that shee had another child in the womb, I did not fetch 
the after-birth, but put her into a warm bed, and, upon some thoughts 
deferred the present proceeding for the delivery of the other child, wil- 
ling the midwife to let mee know when the waters flowed for the second 
birth. But this unworthy, self-wil'd midwife, hoping to demur her off, 
never called mee. I came againe unto her some foure houres afterward, 
and the waters had issued. I found the woman raving, and talking 
idly. I gave her good words, and, through the perswasions of her 
friends, shee was brought to kneele. Then, by the feet, I quickly de- 
livered her of a weak, yet living, child. The twins were of diverse 
sexes, and this woman had two severall after-births, and they were both 
brought away, the one after the other. Sbee had not any forcing pain, 
or throw upon her, when I put up my hand to fetch the children by the 
feet. The woman thanked God for her speedy delivery, and much re- 
joy ced at her sudden help. 

The last child was a boy, hee lived two or three dayes, and then 
died. The woman recovered, and hath since assured inee, That shee 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


would never feare mee more, but that, in case of extremity, sliee would 
refer herself to God, and mee, rather then to any midwife living. 

I believe, upon after considerations, that it had been much bet- 
ter for Goodwife Elde, and her child, if that I had not deferred the 
second birth, but had delivered her again forthwith of the other child, 
by the child's feet. 

The deferring happened through some thoughts, which came into 
my memory, from a discourse, in former time, between mee, and a good 
kinswoman of mine (Mrs. Willughby) that was a long experimented 
midwife, of much practice, and of good repute with women, dwelling 
in Westminster and London. This good woman assured mee, That 
shee had laid severall women of twins, and that shee never forced the 
second birth by breaking of the waters, and that shee had left these 
women for six houres, or longer, and, after her comming again, that 
then shee had delivered them safely of the second child. 

All this, for the worth of the good woman, I beleeved, but never 
had made experiment of it ; yet, for Goodwife Eld's sake, I should (if 
occasion served) never againe defer the second birth, but chuse rather 
to deliver the woman so soon, as possible I could, of the other, after 
that the first child was borne. 

Mrs. Judith Ward of Darby, having twins, the wench was de- 
livered by the midwife ; but the second twin (a boy) could not break 
the membranes, although hee much strugled for a long time. I began 
to fear her life, and the losse of the child. Therefore, to preserve both, 
I slid up my anointed hands, I brake the membranes, I took the child 
forth by the feet, and hee lived a yeare, and then died. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 


Pareus saith, If there be severall children in the womb at once, 
and of different sexes, they have every one then severall secon dines, 
which thing is very necessary to bee known by all midwives. I advise 
the midwife, that shee look for the navel-string in all births of twins, and 
see, whether they bee not included both in one secondine. If they bee, 
then there bee not two secondines. I have seen this thing, although 
the infants were of diverse sexes, included in the same membrane, and 
these navel-strings were a span distance the one from the other. 

After the last child was borne, this woman oft fainted, and was as 
good as gon. But, by spirting aqua vitas up into her nostrils, shee 
again revived, the which was done as oft as occasion required. Mar : 
18, 1663. 

She conceived again with child about a yeare and a half after tins. 
In the time of her labour, the child's head was found too great for the 
passage. To preserve both, through hopes that the child might bee 
alive, I turned the birth from the head to the feet, and the infant was 
drawn forth by the feet ; after that she had suffered above twenty foure 
houres in extremity, and that all hopes of delivery, by a naturall and 
usuall way, were extinct. 

Shee conceived again the third time, with pain and much suf- 
fering ; and shee was then delivered by her midwife. The child lived 
half a yeare, and then died. 

I was sent for again, July 1, the fourth time, 1671, shee was 
delivered before I came. 

January the fifteenth, anno 1665, I was sent for to Thurnestone, 
three mile from Darby, to deliver Elianor Cripple, a shepheard's wife. 
I found the first child dead, and that it smelt, so I drew it with the 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


crochet. And it was thought that this child was killed by the midwife's 
violent struglings. 

For the second child I slid up my anointed hands, forthwith I 
brake the membranes ; I quickly delivered her, drawing the child forth 
by the feet. 

When hee was born, hee had two teeth in his lower jaw, wlute 
and long ; his body was of a very swarthy, muddy colour. But after a 
small time hee became reddish, and well favoured, and cried very loudly. 
The mother and the child bee both living. 

In her weaknes I went foure times to see her, and shee com- 
plained very sadly to mee, how one of the midwives (that was a young 
woman) had afflicted her through much pulling, and stretching her 

I saw this woman, with her child. They were both well, and in 
health, Mar; the 19, 1667—8. 

The two teeth, with which hee was born, were turned very black, 
all the rest were white, and the mother since hath told me that hee hath 
cast these two teeth. 

And I find by experience, That as soon as the first child is born, 
if that the membranes bee not broken, that it will bee the best way 
forthwith to break them, and speedily to deliver the woman of the other 
child by the feet, whilest that the passage is open, and much dilated ; 
the longer it is deferred, the more will the woman suffer through the 
closing, and swelling, that usually followeth those places. 

March the first, ] 667, I was called to Ocbrook, to Elizabeth the 
wife of Thomas Holland. I found two midwives with her, shee had 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

twins. And the first child (a female) did thrust forth an arme, by which 
the child was pulled by the midwives, and, afterward,, it was forced up 
into her body, and, between these midwives, the arme, nigh unto the 
shoulder, was broken, and the child deprived of life. 

This woman was much spent, and made very sore, and swel'd, be- 
fore my comming. 

I placed the woman kneeling on a bolster. I put down her head 
to a pillow, that was laid in a woman's lap, sitting afore her. Then, 
sliding up my hand over the child's arme, I easily obtained a foot, but 
could not well hold it, being very slippery, untill I laid my forefinger 
beyond the child's heel, and, holding it between my fingers, with the 
foot placed long wayes in my hand griped, with some striving I brought 
the foot to light, but could not well hold it untill I took it in a linen 
cloth, and the child, afterward, would not remove, until I forced the 
shoulder a little backward, by thrusting up the arme, which was fixed 
in the neck of the womb ; and then the body easily turned round. 

I drew the child by the foot, untill it came nigh to the twist of 
the body, and then, finding the other foot, lying on the belly, I put my 
middle finger between the thigh and the child's belly, and drawing easily 
by my finger, and by the foot, I brought it to the neck, and, having 
turned the child's face to the back of the woman, I put my finger into 
the dead child's mouth, then, drawing by the feet, shee was quickly laid, 
without any throws or enforcements from the womb, of this female 

The second child was a male child. I fetched him by the feet; 
and hee was easily and quickly borne alive. 

In the same uterine cake, in winch both these infants were in- 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


eluded, I found both navel-strings, a span distant, the one from the 
other, having the several navel-strings united to that membrane. 

And, therefore, it is not alwayes certaine, that infants of diverse 
sexes should bee folded in several! secondines, (as Pareus would have 
it) for I took great observation of this secondine, and of the diverse 
sexes, and I speake no more, but what I saw, and found to be true in 
these infants so placed in their mother's womb. 

After the woman's delivery, I much feared that shee would not 
have recovered her weaknes ; for that her face, hands and feet were very 
cold, her spirits weake, her speech very low, and her strength much en- 
feebled, and shee had a weake pulse. 

Her cold hands and feet were wrapped in warm cloths, and over 
her lips was held a warm hand, hollowish ; that her breath by reverbe- 
rating against the hand, might returne warme againe upon her face ; 
and over the hand and face was spread a thin linen cloth, warmed : and 
sometimes a warme face was laid to her cold cheeks, and, by these 
wayes, with warme and quiet keeping, beyond expectation, through 
God's permission, shee recovered. And these wayes, by the hand, for 
renewing heat in her, T learned and observed from the midwives. 

The weake-born child lived, but could not suck. It was fed with 
boiled milk, thickened with white bread and sweetened with sugar. I 
saw the mother Anno 1669. Shee said that her son lived, and was 
able to go about the house. 

In Stafford, Anno 1655, a poor labouring man's wife was brought 
to bed in the night of a child, the midwife could not find the 
after-burden, and my help was desired in the next morning. I went 
unto her, I found that shee had another child. I drew away the dead 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

child by the feet, and the woman recovered ; her husband was a sawer 
of timber. 

A young woman in Darby, Nov: 1671, had a slip and stumbled, 
but did not fall, being great with child, in the eigth moneth of her 
going with child. Shee continued in pain a whole week afterward, and 
the last foure dayes her paines were great. I was called, the 14th. 
day, die Solis, and a little before my comming, the waters had issued. 
When I came into the chamber, the midwife told mee that the child 
came right. But I saw a great deale of blood lying on the floore, the 
winch, I believed, happened by the midwife's haling of her body. And 
I perceived that the woman was unwilling to continue under the mid- 
wife's hands. Not long after, a child was born, and there appeared 
another child. I feared the woman's life, for that again shee lost much 
blood, and it did run upon the floore in a streame. About half an houre 
afterward shee was delivered of a second child, and when the after -bur- 
den • was fetched away the flux of blood stopped. Shee was weak a 
week and more. One of the twins was weake, yet shee and her twins 
Avere alive December the 13. 

The twins were both females, and both contained in one secon- 
dine, the navel-strings were thick and larg, about a span distance the 
one from the other, and the substance of the uterine cake was not fleshy, 
but thickish and quobby, furry, soft, and full of venes, without any 
fleshy substance. I never did see the like afore. 

Goodwife Smedly, being troubled with a dribling of the reds, in 
a larg quantity, for a long space, was much weakened, and dejected by 
them ; but was cured by mee by taking pil. pacifica every night, hora 
somni, when shee went to bed. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


After her recovery sliee conceived of two female twins. Sliee told 
raee that the first was quickly, and easily born. But, for the second, 
shee suffered much, through the midwife's enforcements to hasten the 
birlh, and was wearied out with pain, and distracted with it, and her 
life was much endangered before shee was delivered of the second child ; 
but shee recovered, and both her children lived. 

A difficult birth 

1. Is called that, which continueth long, as severall dayes, and 
hath greater pain then ordinary. 

2. A difficult birth Avill afflict foure or five dayes, or longer, and, 
usually, the child dieth in that time, and sometimes the mother with it. 

3. But a naturall birth is not of long continuance (if it con- 
tinue twenty foure houres it may bee called a hard birth). 

Many causes of a difficult birth bee alledged, some bee internall, 
others externall. 

4. From the mother being weake, or being very young, or 
old, or being too leane, or too fat, and not able to presse down her 
belly for the expulsion of the child. 

5. Or having an ill conformation of the bones, or troubled with 
diseases, as the colick, or stone, &c. 

6. Or bee disquieted with passions. 

7. Or if, in the parts belonging to the womb, there bee tu- 
mours, ulcers, or sores, or painfull, swel'd piles. 

8. Or from the fetus, when it is too great in 

H 2 " 




Observations in Midwifery, by 

9. Head, or body, or when it is weake, or dead, or seldom mo- 
veth, or when it offereth to 

10. come forth with the hands, or arme, buttocks, knees, or 
feet, or in any other evil posture, one hand and foot, both hands and 
feet, or with a distorted neck, or lyeth oblique in the womb. 

11. As also when the membranes, containing the child, bee 
suddenly broken, and so the child bee left in a dry womb. 

Mercatus saith, That it is a signe of a hard delivery, when the 
waters flow, some dayes before the birth, very copiously. For the 
waters being spent before the time, the infant cannot slide forth by 
reason of the drines of the womb. 

12. Sennertus saith. That it is a signe of a hard delivery, when 
that the laboring woman's paines bee faint, and that there is long in- 
termitting time between the comming of them, and that the paines run 
more to the back, then to the birth place. 

13. Or/ when the membranes bee too strong, or thick, that they 
cannot bee broken with the child's enforcements. 

In respect of the womb, the birth may bee difficult, if it bee too 
narrow in the passage, if ill conformed or distorted, or obstructed with 
swellings, ulcerated, or any way ill affected, or troubled with the stone 
in the neck of the bladder, or with excrements in the great gut, or too 
much water filling, and extending the bladder, or the hemorrhoids. Or, 
if the os coccygis bee too firme, and will not yield a passage for the de- 
parture of the infant. 

The ill placing of a woman in time of her delivery. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


If all things proceed right in the birth, and the infant is not borne, 
it is to be feared that the infant's head is too great, or that some mole, or 
tumour is joined to the infant. 

If the passage through the bones bee too narrow, or strait, if 
anointing with convenient oiles, or ointments, shall profit nothing, the 
infant perisheth, and it must bee drawn away by the Chirurgion's hand, 
otherwise the mother will perish with the child. 

Si secundina exeat, manente foetu, lethale. 304, Primrose. 

14. Or from externall causes, when the aire is too hot, or cold, 
or too much heat, or cold, in the chamber may hinder the birth, or too 
much feeding on grosse, or astringent meats, nigh the time of birth. 

15. Also, the too forward hastines of the midwife may cause a 
difficult delivery, immoderate evacuations, or if, by the labour, vomiting, 
epilepsy, or convulsions, or fluxes of blood do happen. 

16. Too much sleepines and stupidity retard the birth, and 
shew nature to bee weake. 

17. The bladder, full of water, and the intestinum rectum, 
stuffed with excrements, will cause difficult labour. 

18. When the child is dead in the womb, swoonings, and con- 
vulsions, and sleepines usually follow, and these accidents bee oft the 
forerunners of death. 

19. Those that fall into travaile before the full and fixed time, 
are very difficult to deliver, because the fruit is yet unripe. 

A weake infant is known by the mother's long sicknes, or that 
shee hath had a loosnes, or if that shee hath been troubled with a flux 
of blood, or that her milk hath run much out of her breasts. 




Observations in Midwifery, by 

in dif- 

Sneezing is good, and much advanceth the woman's delivery, it 
also driveth forth the after-birth. 

Let all cruelties, as cutting of children in pieces in the mother's 
womb, with all violent wayes in every difficult labour, bee forborn. For 
it retardeth the births, and, oft lacerating the body of the woman, 
maketh her paines intolerable, which renders her so weake, and hearties, 
that shee hath no strength left to endure her throws, and the child's en- 
forcements. Whosoever useth such harshnes, may well be branded with 
cruelty, and ignorance in midwifery. 

A London midwife, very officious, endeavouring to have a speedy 
delivery, through haling, and stretching those tender parts, made a la- 
bour of long continuance, and, with her halings, a breach about an inch 
long into the fundament. With this affliction the woman was much 
disquieted. Eor ever afterward her excrements came forth by the birth 
place ; yet this woman did much commend her laborious midwife, and 
said that shee took great paines to deliver her, to save her life. 

This fact was done in Fleet-street. The woman came to mee for 
help, and shewed me her torn body. 

Where this grief can, without trouble bee suffered, it will bee much 
better not to meddle Avith it, then to endeavour to cure it. For it will 
cause the next labour to bee more dolorous, and difficult, by making a 
new laceration, or incision. 

But, not being cured, the ensuing births will bee more easy, by 
reason of the spaciousnes of the breach, the vulva and intestinum rec- 
tum being laid together, and making but one passage. 

Zacutus Lusitanus reporteth, That a certain midwdfe carried a long 

PercivaM Willughby, Gentleman, 


knife secretly in her sleeve,, with which shee cut the womb, or funda- 
ment, whilest that the woman was in great paine. fflouding followed 
her wicked practice, and, if any recovered after her cruelty, they lived 
miserably all the rest of their dayes, ever having their excrements 
comming per vulvam. Tor these her evil deeds shee was banished by 
the Magistrates. De praxi medic, admirand., lib. 3. obs. 141. 

A good woman dwelling at Brincliffe, nigh Sheffield, through a 
difficult labour, fell into the hands of an ignorant woman. Shee cut 
the child into severall pieces in her body. By this midwife's knife, and 
the child's bones, the woman's body was hurt in the extraction of the 
severall parts of the child's body. And, through the raising of the 
neck of the womb, it became ulcerated. 

Some severall yeares after I was sent for, and, after mee, severall 
others. By our applications her paines were mitigated, but none of us 
could cure her. At last, of this affliction shee died, ulcerated in her 

A good Gentlewoman, big with child, desirous of my acquaint- 
ance, and to have my counsell, came of purpose to mee to Darby, and, 
after some conference, returned to her house in Staffordshire. 

At the time of her travaile, the child proffer'd an arme. This 
unnaturall birth dismai'd the mother, and troubled the midwife. My 
company and assistance were wished for. And man and horse were 
provided to have fetched mee. But this resolution was unfortunately 
altered, and shee was perswaded to put herself under the hands of a 
wicked woman, that took upon her to free her of the child. 

This woman first cut off the child's arme. Afterward, shee divi- 
ded the child into severall parts, to pull it forth by pieces. Her knife, 




Observations in Midwifery, by 

in doing this work, was broken with many great notches, as shee 
hackled in her body. All which a Gentlewoman told mee, that was 
there present. 

This Gentlewoman died in few dayes after shee had suffered her 
barbarous tortures. I comming afterward among her sad friends, la- 
menting her death, they shewed me this knife, full of great notches. 
And all of them reviled this ignorant woman, and too late distasted her 
evil doings. 

Mercatus saith, That all children bee born by the head or feet, 
although they may lie in the womb oblique, contorted, or depraved with 
various postures. I have known some children comming by the but- 
tocks, and so borne. 

That is supposed to bee a natural! and easy birth by all mid- 
wives, when the infant commeth forth with his head forward, presently 
following the flux of waters. 

But when it commeth by the arme, back, or belly, buttocks, side, 
knees, or feet, these births they call unnaturall,and they have need of 

Let midwives, therefore, bee perswaded, That, as oft as they 
perceive the child to bee comming forth in an evil posture, either with 
his belly, or back, forward, or, as it were, doubled, in a crooked posture, 
or with Ms hands and feet together, or with Ins head forward, and one 
of Ins hands stretched over his head, or with the buttocks, that they 
ought to turn the birth, and to draw it out by the feet. 

In all these births, when too great straitnes of the narrow passages 
has not hindered my endeavours, and where the bones, through the 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


rickets, or unnatural weaknes, have not been of an ill conformation, I 
have onely used my hand, and have happily delivered the women by the 
child's feet, without the use of any kind of instrument whatsoever, and 
I had rather so do it, then to make use of the crochet. 

In all difficult births, I shall endeavour to set forth, with God's 
permission, my wayes, in as plain directions, and familiar, easy words, as 
possible I can find forth, being desirous to help Avomen in their afflic- 
tions, and to save their children's lives. 

Let, therefore, the midwife, in every difficult birth, bee well as- 
sured whether the child be alive, or dead. 

Let her not bee too hasty to send for a young chirurgion, to 
extract the infant, and let her never put him forward to bee busy in 
such works ; least, unadvisedly, hee destroy a living infant, through her 
perswasions, which may, in time, terrifie both midwife and chirurgion, 
as also others. 

Whether the child bee alive, or dead, the mother may give some 
probable conjecture in what condition her child is, by the stirring, or 
not moving of it. Also the midwife may have some foreknowledg. 
For, if that shee perceive any pulsation in the navel-string, or in the 
arteries of the head, or temples, or in the arteries of the wrists of the 
hands, or feet, or that it suck the finger. For any of these signes shew 
the child to bee living. 

And, as long as the child is living, to have a tender conscience, 
not to destroy life, although it come in no good posture, but rather 
endeavour how to amend the birth by their own practice, or by the help 
of others. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

When the head commeth first, and is nmch entered into the pas- 
sages, or into the bones, then to keep the travailing woman quiet, in a 
warme temperature, not too hot, or cold, in, or on her bed, made as 
formerly directed, will much conduce to her more easy delivery ; anoint- 
ing the birth place, sometimes, with Balsamum Hystericum, or such 
like, and putting some of it into the woman's body. 

Sometimes the externall parts of the woman's body may bee so 
narrow, that the child will happen to stay after the head is past the 
bones, and can come no farther forth, but resteth there, pressing forth 
the body, and fundament into a larg tumour. 

In this case, put the woman to her knees, and anoint the body 
very well, both inwardly, and outwardly. Afterward, toward the back 
of the woman, put up two fingers anointed, between the rump-bone, and 
the child's head, keeping your fingers steadfast on the head, with the 
back of your hand toward the back of the woman ; then lift up the back 
of your hand toward the rump-bone, and it will dilate the straitnes of 
her body, and the lifting up of your hand, with the holding your 
fingers steadfastly on the child's head, will turn the circle of the lips of 
her body over the childs head, and so it will the better slide forth. All 
this while keep warme the birth-place, oft anointing it with balsamum 
hystericum, or other oiles, and, if more need require, you may at this 
time conveniently give a dose of pulvis parturiens. 

By these meanes I laid a young woman, labouring of her first 
child, in Darby Jan : 23. 1667. 

And after the same way was delivered Mrs. F. of Hopton 1631. 1 
took the same way with a woman at Kegworth. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


After this way I helped Goodwife Forman of Spoondon, having 
suffered much, and delivered her of a living child 1660. 

To facilitate her labour I gave her a decoction of germander,, 
penyroyall and calamine boiled in posset drink, the which I tinctured 
with saffron • and to a draught I added a spoonfull of the Earle of 
Chesterfield's powder, and two spoonfuls of oile of sweet almonds. 
This quickened her throws, and at last, brought forth the child. 

Yide the powder of eeles by Helmont, Dr. Willm. Sermon's to 
that purpose. 

But, in this birth, there will bee some danger of a breach into 
the fundament, unles you bee very cautious, and it will bee much ha- 
zard to prevent it. 

I was called to Osliston, foure miles from Darby, to a young 
woman, a stranger in that place, labouring of her first child. The 
child's head was great, and it was descended to the labia vulvae, and did, 
with the head, largly extend, and presse forth all the parts thereabout, 
and her body was too strait to afford a passage for the child's head. 

I oft anointed those parts with oiles, and gave her severall medi- 
cines to facilitate the birth. Yet, for all my care and endeavours, the 
child's head made a breach, which did not reach into her fundament, 
winch cured itself, and shee was delivered of a living child. 

But the father of the child was not known, and the mother's 
friends had not cared, if that the child had died, so that the woman 
might bee saved ; and what afterward became of the mother, and the 
child, I know not. 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

A dead 

A diffi- 

I was sent for Aug : 15, 1667, to Church Broughton, to deliver 
Isaac Saint's wife. The child was great, and had much entered the 
bones, and there it did stick, and would not bee removed. 

After the anointing of her body, and keeping her warme and 
quiet, I gave her a dose of this powder following, and within an houre 
after the taking of the medicine, thorow throes came, and shee was de- 

The head was more easily borne, then the rest of the body. The 
dead child did stick at the shoulders, they were drawn forth by putting 
my finger under the child's arme-pit. The child was swel'd in all the 
body, and in several! places the skin was flayed off it, it did stink ; yet 
the woman recovered, and hath had another child since that time, and 
was then delivered by her midwife. 

The powder 

R Trochis. Myrrh. 3iiij, Castorei 3j, Succin. Alb. 3ij, Croci 
Optimi gr. X, Boracis 3J, M. fiat pulvis cui adde 01. Succin. gut. hj ei> 
dividatur in tres partes eequales. I gave one paper full in posset-drink, 
tinctured with Saffron, and sweetened with sugar, and, with God's per- 
mission, a happy and good delivery followed after the taking of the 
medicine. , 

Mrs. Alice Heath, a scholemaster's wife in Staffordshire, was by 
mee delivered of a living daughter. Her waters had flowed some three 
days afore, and her labour was long and painful. Her Husband came 
to mee Dec: 24, in the afternoon. I went with him. 

I gave her the midwife's powder, but it did little good, to which 
I added, afterward, some borax, with some oile of amber, and the balsam 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


of charity, the which opened her body. At last, between the child's 
head, and her body, I put my two fingers, and lifted up the skin toward 
the fundament over the child's head. Then it pleased God to suffer the 
child's head to slide into the world. 

The after-birth was difficult to fetch, but, at last was obtained. 
After her delivery shee lost some blood. That night shee and her child 
took good rest, and shee slept well. The next day, being Christmas 
day, I left them both chearfull and well, in the afternoone 1662. I so 
returned to Darby. 

To prepare women's bodies, and to cause them to have easier 
labors, let mee commend unto them the use of oiles, and mollifying 
clysters, as also sometimes to eat figs. 

Let mee commend to the meaner sort of women, which have not 
store of meanes to supply their desires, good salad oile. But, to the 
more able, and richer sort, oile of sweet almonds, newly drawn. These 
oiles will dilate the passages, and mitigate, and shorten their paines of 
harsh, and long, dry labour ; taking a spoonfull or two in broth, or pos- 
set-drink, in the mornings, or at night, or at both times. 

So will anodyne, and mollifying clysters, and to eat white bread 
tosts well buttered, with good, new, sweet, fresh butter, for a fortnight, 
or longer continuance, before the time of travailing approacheth. 

Mrs. Isabel Mumford, a woman dwelling in Darby, about the 
yeare 1655, having her children born with great affliction, intreated mee 
(if I could possible) to direct her some meanes, whereby shee might bee 
the more easily delivered in time to come. 

I willed her to take, a moneth before the time of her travaile, 
every day good oile in posset-drink. Shee made use of my directions, 


Observations in Midwifery, by 


and, afterward, shee assured mee that it gave her much ease, with a 
quicker and more comfortable speed in her deliveries, then usually, shee 
formerly had enjoyed. 

Jan: the sixteenth, 1669, I went to see her, not knowing that 
shee was with child, and seeing her very great, and imagining that shee 
was not far from her account, I asked her whether shee made use of the 
oile. Shee told mee that shee ever did make use of it nigh the time of 
her labour, and that now shee was in taking of it. 

But said, That shee could not take it in the morning, but took it 
at night in warm posset-drink, for being taken in the morning, it did 
much trouble her stomach all the day after ; that it kept her body in- 
different soluble, and caused her labours to bee more moist, and easy, 
whereas, before, it was very dry and difficult and tedious unto her. A.nd 
few dayes after this my visit shee was well delivered of a living child by 
the midwife. 

But the richer and more wealthy sort, I advise them to take oile 
of sweet almonds, newly drawn, to the quantity of an ounce, in two 
ounces of parietary water, or in white wine possets, or in thin broth. 

And, every night, and morning, to anoint the birth-place, and 
the rump-bone, and the share-bone with balsamum Hysterimn, or oile 
of lilies, sitting before a warme fire, and gently rubbing it into those 
places with a soft hand. 

Let the poorer sort use oile of lilies, capon's, or hen's grease to 
anoint with. 

For, where the body is much bound, there will follow a hard and 
difficult labour, unless an emollient clyster bee administred, to free the 
rectum intestinum of the excrements. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman 


Gulllimeau, the French King's chirurgion, reports,, That hee was 
present at the travaile of a sick, poor woman, that had not been at 
stoole in ten dayes before, whose great gut was so fuTd, and stuft with 
excrements, as hard as a stone, that it was impossible for her to receive 
a clyster, and wee were constrained, before shee could bee delivered, to 
get out all the said excrements, otherwise, it had been impossible to 
have taken forth the child. 

In country villages, where nothing but herbs, milk, and eggs, 
with some course sugar, was, at the most, to bee had, I have made clys- 
ters of such materials, and have used them with good successe. 

But, usually, I give such a clyster, if that I am where such 
ingredients may bee procured. 

Take a pint of new milk, make thereof a posset with good ale, in 
a pint thereof boile chamomil flowers half an handfull, of cumin seeds 
a little spoonfull, of anniseeds, and sweet fenel seeds, and of Unseed, of 
each half a spoonfull, Bruise all the seeds grosly, boile these together 
leasurely, to the consuming of the one half, then strain it, and to some 
foure, or six ounces of this decoction put a spoonfull of hard sugar, and 
keep it warme. 

Then take Venice turpentine, washed with plantane water, six dra- 
chmes, put it into a pewter-dish, and adde to it the yolk of an egge, 
with a spoone stir them well together over a small heat of embers, and 
they will well mix by stirring, and come like a milky cream, then, being 
lukewarm, put this mixture into a clyster-bag, and adde to it two spoon- 
fuls of oile of sweet almonds, or of salad oile, and so let this clyster bee 
given ; and let the woman retain it as long as shee can conveniently, 
the longer, the better, as three, or foure houres, or, if it may bee, all 
night, and sleep, or endeavour to sleep after the taking of it. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

At the discharg thereof the intestimim rectum will bee freed, and 
emptied of all the excrements, and the uterine passages will bee suppled, 
and made pliable for a more easy dilatation to the delivery. 

But if the woman should have a loose stoole, or two before her 
labour, then you need not to trouble her with a clyster. 

The thicker, and bigger the end of the clyster-pipe is, the easier 
it will enter, and better passe into the woman's body for the giving of 
the clyster, and, through the greatnes of the end, it will put aside all 
the wrinkles, or folds of the intestinum rectum. But if the pipe will 
not go easily up, but is hindered with these folds, or wrinkles of the 
gut, then, with your finger anointed with butter, or, with a candle, a 
little warmed toward the end, and conveyed three or foure inches into 
the body, you may make a free passage, for the going up of the clyster- 
pipe, and for the better receiving of the clyster. 

When the child is much descended, and filleth the birth-place, 
you must not put the clyster-pipe directly forward, but put it aslope, 
backward, between the vagina uteri, and os coccygis, so you may, without 
trouble, or losse of the clyster, deliver, or put it up. Otherwise, the 
child's head, filling Ihe passage, will suffer no part of the clyster to bee 
conveyed into the fundament. Or, instead of a clyster-pipe, you may 
make good use of a catheter, as you do the clyster-pipe. 

I was sent for by a Lady, and Kinswoman, who thought that shee 
was within a fortnight of her account, but shee continued above that 
time seaven weekes, shee used, a b'ttle, the Balsum Hystericum to anoint 
with, and took, sometimes, a spoonfull of oile of sweet almonds, com- 
mended to her by Dr. Phipps. But both these shee used seldome, and 
in small quantity, and so shee had no good by them. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


And, for that shee was very costive in her body, I oft moved her 
to take a clyster ; but shee would not hearken unto my desires, and shee 
gave too much belief to foolish women, that were about her. 

Friday the 29 of Nov. 1661 about foure in the afternoon, shee 
forced herself to have a stoole in her closet. By this great striving, so 
soon as shee came into her chamber, her waters did breake without any 
pain, and flowed all that night, and all the next day in abundance, (the 
which I took for an evil signe) and shee had no labour at all with the 
flowing of the waters, and shee would sit up all that friday night. 

I perswaded her, on Saturday at night, to go to bed, and was 
called again to her December the first early in the morning. I then 
moved her to take a clyster, assuring her that it would much promote 
her labour, and ease her paines, with hastening the birth, through open- 
ing, and dilating of all the passages, but shee would not bee perswaded 
to follow my desires, nor hearken to my motions. 

Her chamber was too great, and too light, at the iime of her 
labour I could not obtain the favour to have it darkened. Her Hus- 
band feared the knocking in of nailes should spoile the windows. 

In the afternoon on Sunday shee had an hard stoole, but it must 
bee concealed from mee. 

Her labour being long, and tedious, I intreated her to take the 
Earle of Chesterfield's powder, to move the birth, in posset-drink, in 
which was boiled calamint and penyroyall, and afterward tinctured with 
saffron. Some two houres after, with much beseeching, and entreaty, I 
did get her to take it again, and I did acute it with borax. Then shee 
had some through throws, and in her labour, the excrements of her 
body were forced out before the child's head, as it descended. And, 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

before the child was borne, great blasts of wind, of long continuance, 
like farts, came from the womb, between foure and five, that Sunday at 

The child was still-born. The midwife made much ado to revive 
the child, but in vaine. 

I caused her to separate it from the after-burden, fearing again 
that some evil accidents might happen by the retaining the after-burden, 
through closing of her body. 

This Lady suffered much through her great averseness against 
clysters, otherwise, shee might have beene more easily delivered, and, 
in probability, might have brought forth a living son. 

The midwife was fearful to fetch the after-burthen, so I was put 
upon the work by her husband, the which I quickly performed. And, 
for that shee was apt to fioud, I gave her a drachm of the prepared pow- 
der of white amber, rnixt with the yolk of a raw egge, in a caudle, .and 
each particular succeeded well, the death of the child onely excepted. 

In the birth afore this, the midwife durst not fetch away the after- 
burden, for that shee flouded as oft as shee touched her body. It rot- 
ted away from her in severall pieces, and had like to have been her 
death. Shee was afterward, long weak, and had great white, painfull 
swel'd legs during her weaknes. 

Had shee taken a clyster, I verily beleeve that shee would have 
had better, and speedier labour, and that then the child's head would 
not have forced forth excrements, before the birth. So pain ensued, 
and made her have little or no power to help herself in her extremity. 

In all my practice of midwifery I never, afore, or since, observed 


Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


such blasts, or gusts of wind to come from the womb of a woman in 

Sennertus de partus naturalis signis sic inquit. 

Alvus ut laxa sit, non dura, det operam. lino, si partum jamjam 
instare animadvertat, clystere emolliente alvum laxare utile, imb neces- 
sarium est, cum, si alvo obstrueta ad partus labores accedat, non pariim 

October the eleventh 1668 I was sent for by a right Ho ble Lady, 
and desired by her to bee in the house all the time of her travaile. 

Shee was of a contrary opinion to the former Lady. Her usuall 
custome was, for a week, or more, before shee thought that her labour 
would come upon her, to take two clysters every day. The first to free 
the body of excrements (if there were any) and to prepare her body, in 
making way for the better keeping of the second. 

At her full time shee was, in short space, easily delivered of a very 
great child, without much strivings, pain or trouble. I did wonder to 
see so great a child born with so easy delivery. 

T left both mother and child alive, and both likely long to live, 
some foure, or six dayes after her delivery. 

I have observed in all women, that I have laid, and have the same 
affirmed by severall midwives, 

That, where the intestinum rectum was loaded with excrements, 
that there was alwayes a troublesome labour, and that the child's head, 
as it slided, would thrust forth the excrements before the child could bee 
borne, and I can speake it experimented in diverse women, having had 
my hands &c 

k~2 : 


Observations in Midwifery ', by 

Therefore it is very necessary that the intestinum rectum bee freed 
of all excrements, in all women, before they fall into travaile. Tor that 
in those passages a little stoppage will cause troublesome struglings with 
much painfull sufferings. 

As also to empty the bladder, by making urine, so the child will 
have a more spacious, and more easy egresse at the time of birth. 

I was called to lay Christopher Naylor's wife of a dead child in 
Darby. After that I had brought it a little past the navel, suddenly 
abundance of warm moisture flowed upon my hands, I was somewhat 
dismayed at the feeling of it, for fear that it should have proved bloud. 
But when I looked on my hands, I found that it was onely a great flow- 
ing of her urine, which had been stopped. Shee had not made water 
for severall dayes afore, and the child's head, by pressing the neck of 
the bladder, did cause the stoppage of her urine, and the bladder, being 
greatly distended with her water, did hinder the child's head from des- 
cending. And that was the cause of the difficult labour, and, in proba- 
bility, of the child's death; the stopping made by urine. 

Thomas ' Raynold Physician in his book of the birth of mankind, 
saith, That a labouring woman, when necessity requireth, may take a 
clyster. But it must bee very gentle, and easy, made of the broth of a 
chicken, or other tender flesh, putting thereto course sugar, or hony, 
with some salt, or there may bee made a decoction for a clyster, by 
seething in water mallowes, or holyoakes, with hony, and salt. 

But Pareus, with others, commend sharp clysters to bee given to 
women in labour, to bring away the excrements, and to provoke the ex- 
pulsive faculty, for the more easy exclusion, or driving forth of the 
infant, but hath not left us a direction how to make them. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


I find this clyster in Guillimean fol. 122. R Bismal. cum radic. 
Matricar. Mercnr. aa m. i. Aristol. nostrat. Dictam. Arthemis. aa m. s. 
flor. lavend. p. s. sem. lin. foenugr. aa 5 s - fol. sen. mnnd. 3vj. Fiat om- 
nium decoctio, de qua cape quart, tij. in quibus dissolue Diophseni. Hier. 
simpl. aa 3iij. 01. Eutac. Cheyrin. aa ^ij- na ^ clyster. 

Madam Louyce Boarges, midwife to the Queen of France, was of 
Pareus opinion. Shee was called to a woman, that was very weak, and 
had been in labour nine or ten dayes, and whatsoever shee took, shee 
instantly vomited it up. 

Shee perceived that nature was oppressed, and had not any good 
assistance, and that the infant was retired back again, which stifled the 
mother, and provoked this vomiting. 

Whereupon shee gave her a good, strong clyster, to awaken na- 
ture, and to bring the infant lower, winch it did, according to her hopes. 
Afterward shee gave her a small quantity of rhubarb water, and, at every 
houre's end, the yolk of an egge, and these stayed with her. 

By this time nature began to bee strengthened, and the paines of 
the infant came again in lesse time, then two houres after the taking of 
the clyster, and other nourishment. 

When shee saw her pretty well, and that nature strove to expell 
the infant, shee gave her half a drachm of confection of Alkermes, in a 
little wine, and, a little while after, another clyster, into which shee put 
a little Hiera, and a little Benedicta laxativa, which finished the work, 
and shee was then delivered of a very lusty child. 

And it was her opinion, That a woman, travailing in the ninth 
moneth, ought chiefly to bee succored with clysters, Thus Madame Lou- 
yce Bourgious. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

I have known severall medicines used by some with good successe, 
which, in the hands of others, have proved fatall. 

I have nsed milky, and anodyne clysters, made with aniseeds, and 
cumin seeds, and fenil seeds, yolks of egges, and Venice Turpentine 
washed in plantane water, with oile of sweet almonds, or such like oile. 

But I durst not bee bold to give sharp or strong clysters to wo- 
men nigh their account, or in their labour, for feare that they should 
move too much to stoole, and so cause a drawing of the after -purging 
from the womb to the bowels, and so, through too much purging, de- 
stroy the woman after her delivery. 

Guillimeau saith fol. 48 That, if the woman bee troubled with 
pain, you may give her a clyster as this 

ft Pol. malv. matrica. aa m. j. nor. chamam. melilot. et summi- 
tat. aneti aa m. s. sem. anis. fenic. aa 3nj. bulliant in jure capit. vervec. 
vel vituli. de quo accipe quart, iij. In quibus dissolue 01. Anethi, Cha- 
mamil. aa ^ij sacchar. rub. $i. s. Butyr. recent, ^j- vitell. ovor. duor. 
fiat clyster. 

Nevertheles hee was of opinion (if it may bee don possible) that 
they should abstaine from clysters, because hee had seen women, some- 
times, through as small a clyster as tins, fall into great torments, yea 
even into throws, nature being thereto prepared and ready, winch turn- 
ed to the chirurgion's disgrace. 

There was a good woman in Darby, that had severall great pashes 
of the reds, but whether shee had suffered any false conception, or abor- 
tion, I knew not, with cordials, and pil. pacifica shee was restored the 
first time. 

Shee afterward conceived, and went forth her full time, but in her 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


labour fainted, and swooned. I was then sent for, and found her sit- 
ting, whether in a chair, or on a woman's lap, I do not now remember. 
Shee was very pale, and faint, having a dying countenance, and her mid- 
wife not attending her work, but pulling her by the nose, to keep life in 

I willed the midwife, with the women, to lay her on her bed. 
With good spirits, and uterine cordials shee came again to herself, and 
when, afterward, labour began to approach, I gave her a dose of pul- 
vis parturiens, and put her into her midwife's hands, as shee was lying 
on the bed, and shee was speedily delivered of a dead child. And thus, 
at the second time, shee was recovered. 

At her fainting, and swoonings, I suppose the child died in the 

Afterward, shee conceived again, and, nigh the time before labour 
came on her, shee desired an apothecary to make her a clyster to move a 
stoole, or two. J. W. hee made it. I know not, but this clyster of his 
gave her many stooles, and brought much .weaknes on her. Shee being 
not well that night, after the clyster had done working, her midwife was 
sent for; shee, and her midwife, supposing her paines to bee not any- 
thing relating to her labour, the midwife went home, leaving her in bed 
with her husband. But, within a very little space, the waters flowed. 
Her Husband made hast again to fetch the midwife. Before the mid- 
wife came, the child was bom, through nature's force, without the mid- 
wife's assistance, and heard to cry lying in bed with the mother. The 
child lived, and the mother seemed to recover her strength. But the 
second day after her delivery, shee was ill, and troubled with a loosnes. 
The fourth day I was sent for. I found her fainting, and altered in her 
understanding. I used my best endeavours to help, and restore her the 

111 suc- 
ces of a 

given to 
a woman 
bef. lab. 

A child 
born af- 
ter the 
sent a- 
way, in 
the mid- 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

third time. But fainting, with sensible fading every houre, increased, 
and deprived us of a good neighbour, and that afternoon shee died. 

Her corps soon corrupted, so that they were necessitated to bury 
her the next day. And I beleeve that her death began in the womb, 
with a mortification, occasioned by the turning away of the after -purgings 
of the womb to the bowels. But, for her sake, I will bee cautious in giv- 
ing clysters, that shall bee strong, to provoke severally or many stooles, 
nigh the time of labour, least that the same disaster should happen 
under my hands. 

A Lady, that had a great belly, shee assured her physician, That 
shee was not with child, and that it was wind, and humours, which 
made her body to swell, and to bee so big. At her request hee gave 
her a potion. It worked much on her body. And, that night follow- 
ing, shee was delivered of a living child, with little suffering. The phy- 
sick left no farther motion of purging after her delivery, and shee well 
recovered. But I cannot commend her unadvised doings, although no 
evil accident followed. 

The La- 
dy Lee. 

When the meanest of the people were made Priests, in Jeroboam's 
dayes, then Israel began to bee afflicted. Afterward followed the des- 
truction, with the captivity of the people. 

When the meanest of the women, not knowing how, otherwise, to 
live, for the getting of a shilling, or two, to sustain their necessities; 
become ignorant midwives, then travailing women suffer tortures, by 
their halings, and stretchings of their bodies, after which followeth the 
ruinating of their healths, and sometimes death. 

Whatsoever woman shall commit her body to the practice of a 
young midwife, that hath read a little in a midwife's book, and hath 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


there seen schemes of the postures of severall births ( the which shee 
doth not understand) and, perchance, not by her skil, but by nature's 
force, hath laid a woman, or two, in an easy and naturall birth; I shall 
fitly compare such a woman to an unadvised passenger, that will hazard 
Iris safety with a Pilot, that never went a sea voiage, but, by reading of 
bookes, or crossing the Thames, or some small river, makes himself a 
Pilot. And I imagine, not any, if wise, will commit their safety to 
these midwives at land, or to such Pilots at sea, unles they bee destitute 
wholly of all other help. 

A woman is not borne a midwife ; It is education, with practice, 
that teacheth her experience; And midwives have need of good memories 
to help their judgments in all their undertakings. 

The young midwives at London bee trained seven yeares first 
under the old midwives, before they bee allowed to practice for them- 

Severall midwives, (chiefely about London) use midwives stools; 
many in the country make use of a bolster, stuffed with hay or straw. 
Others, in severall places, make use of both. Por a woman to lie on 
her back on her bed, in an unnaturall birth, or to use a midwife's stoole 
is not so convenient, as to kneele on a bolster, for that the midwife can- 
not have the command of her hand to put back the child, or to turn the 
birth comming in an ill posture, as shee is placed on the bed or stoole, 
for that her work resteth above her hand, and so it will bee very trouble- 
some to put it backward, alwayes falling again on her hand. 

But kneeling on a bolster, and her head put downward, the child 
will go back from her hand, of itself, or it will bee the better helped 
by the midwife, for putting it again into the hollownes of the woman's 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

body, and there to keep it, untill the birth may bee fittingly ordered, as 
occasion shall require. 

The labouring woman, sitting with her body naked on the mid- 
wife's stoole, usually taketh cold, which starveth, and straiteneth the 
body, and oft bringeth much griefe, and affliction both to the mother, 
and the child, with a long continued labour. 

I rather commend an easy, low pallet, or a warme bed, and they 
bee more usefull, when that the child commeth naturally, following the 

The placing of a woman in a fitting posture doth much facilitate 
the birth. 

A bolster is most fitting for an ill posture, as also for a difficult 
birth, where the child hath need to bee altered, or turned, for the la- 
bouring woman to kneel on in a descending posture. 

A midwife's stoole is good for little, or, rather, for nothing, yet 
severall women do highly commend them. 

In case of necessity, midwives, that know how to make use of a 
bolster, and of the bending postures belonging to it, shall bee freed of 
severall inconveniences, and incumbrances, incident to delivery. 

When a child is to bee turned, or to bee extracted by the crochet, 
the best way then will bee, for the woman to kneele on a bolster. 

Tor which observe this order. v 

First take the bolster, and shorten it, by shaking all the feathers 
into one end, making it indifferent hard; Then roul the bolster in a 
sheet, or blanket, to keep it firm, that the woman's knees sink not much 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


into it. Or use a sack stuffed with hay, or straw, and rouled in a blan- 
ket, or sheet. 

Then place an assisting woman, sitting on the pallet, or bed, with 
a pillow on her lap, and her legs spread as wide, as shee can convenient- 
ly, and let the bolster bee laid, as nigh as may bee, to her knees, and 

Then bring the woman, and cause* her to kneele on the bolster, 
spreading abroad her knees. After this, put her head downe, unto the 
pillow lying in the woman's lap, that sitteth afore her. 

Then is the woman fitted for turning of a child from the head to 
the feet, or for the altering of the birth, or for the drawing of a dead 
child with the crochet. 

If you have a desire to turn the child, when that it hath too great 
a head, or when the bones bee evill framed, and hinder the comming 
forth of the child, then, after shee is placed kneeling on a bolster &c 

Slide up your hand anointed into the woman's body, and, after- 
ward, spread it flat upon the child's head, and gently force the child 
back, toward the mouth of the womb, untill you have roome enough to 
search for the feet, and having found a foot, draw it leasurely forth, 
holding the foot in your hand griped between your fingers. The in- 
fants body will turne easily round, and so bee drawn forth. 

February the fifteenth, 1667, I was called to one Anne Harison, 
at Horsley woodliouses. I found the woman's spirits decayed, and shee 
as good as dying. The midwife told mee, That the child was dead, and 
I beleeved her, after that I had seen the child's arme, which was much 
swel'd, and mortified, and pulled forth, and fixed in the birth by the 
midwife's enforcements. 

l 2 









Observations in Midwifery, by 






the bones 

in a na- 



After my way prescribed, not reducing the arme, I brought downe 
a foot, and I drew gently by that foot, untill I had obtained both feet. 
But the arme of the child, at the shoulder, was so used, and fixed in the 
neck of the womb by the midwife's pullings, that the child's arme would 
not move to go up, or the child's back bee brought to turn round, untill 
I took the child's arme into my hand, and, by the elbow, had forced it a 
little upward into the woman's body. After this, the body of the child 
turned easily round, and the arme went up, of it self, without forcing, 
and, after my usuall way, shee was soon delivered. The after-birth, 
without any strugling, or laceration, was soon fetched away. 

In this woman, after that I had put up my hand into her body, I 
found that I slid it on the backbone of the child, I did not take it out 
of the woman's body, but I turned my hand round, and, with ease, I 
came quickly to the child's belly, where I found the feet. Without any 
torture shee was soon, and easily delivered. I observed, That shee had 
os coccygis very broad at the end of it, and thick, and inverted, nothing 
moveable. Through the ill position of her body, as well as through the 
ignorance of her midwife, and her unhandsome usage accompanying the 
unnaturall birth, her death was hastened by the midwife's enforcements. 
Shee lived but a small time after her delivery, about an houre or two, 
and so departed. 

Vide Mrs Stone of Eudgly. 

When the child hath much entered into the bones, it will bee a 
difficult matter to thrust him back, to turne him to the feet, chiefly, 
after that the woman is become weake, through the midwife's strivings. 

But if the child bee not entered much through the bones, and bee 
alive, having a great head, or pitched in the woman's flank (as mid- 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


wives will have it) or with his head bending to the back, or breast, and 
that, through these difficultnesses, the woman is endangered, and the 
midwife knoweth not how to deliver her; Here I hold the best way to 
preserve the mother, and the child, will bee to turn away the head, and 
to produce him by the feet, which is the last, and onely refuge to help 
both, and to preserve the child with the mother. 

About the yeare 1654 I travailed with my guide, about the mid- 
dle of summer, all the fore-part of the night, and was brought to Brom- 
Idgham in Staffordshire, to a woman in labour, and her midwife could 
not deliver her, though the child came in a naturall birth. 

I found the child alive, I speedily altered the posture of the birth, 
as shee kneeled on a bolster, I turned back the head, and I brought 
downe the feet. By them I soone delivered her of a living sonne; and 
the mother and child lived. I saw them both afterward in May 1656. 

In the yeare 1650 I was desired by a worthy Gentleman to visit 
his wife. I found her a whimsicall, conceited woman. 

Shee sent mee word, That shee had been foure dayes in labour. 
When I came to her, shee was sitting in a chair in her chamber. After 
some conference with her, I assured her, That shee was not in labour, 
and that, at the least, shee would go two dayes more. 

For the present, upon my words, shee was quieted. But, at the 
end of these two dayes, shee was passionated, and would force her body, 
without just cause, by violent strainings, to bee delivered. And all 
this work was occasioned by her schrimshaw midwife, a woman, that 
thought that shee knew all things, and understood very little in her cal- 


land the 


by the 
head in 
a self 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

Before my comming, this midwife had forced up her hand into her 
body, and shee assured this passionated woman, that shee felt the child, 
and that shee must forthwith bee delivered of it, to save her life. 

I had much ado with this woman. I could not quiet her resolu- 
tions, shee would, perforce, make throws, and violently thrust them 
downe by holding her breath, and forcing her belly downward, Thus, 
through much straining, the womb was forced open, and part of the 
chorion descended. 

I told her, That shee much wronged herself by her violent en- 
forcements, and that, as yet, shee had not any signe of true labour on 
her, and that such ill doings might bee her mine. 

But shee, with her midwife, would have their wills, and would 
have my requests to bee overpowered. I intreated the midwife not to 
bee too hasty, and not to break the membranes containing the waters, 
and assured her, That, when shee forced not her body, that the mem- 
brane's, containing the waters, was not to bee felt, and that shee might 
perceive it return up again into her body, so soon as her strivings ceas- 
ed; and, for the present, shee had no true labour on her body. 

But, between the woman's enforcements, and the midwife's igno- 
rance, the waters issued. Then shee made great ado, and cried out, 
That shee should bee ruinated, and die, if that forthwith I would not de- 
liver her. I intreated her patience, assuring her, That it would bee much 
for her good, and easement, if that shee would bee pleased to take some 
rest, for a little while, before her delivery, to revive her spirits, and to 
renew her strength. But my intreaties, and perswasions made her 
much more impatient, and shee made great ado to bee delivered. 

I was then necessitated to tell her, That, as shee was laid upon 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


her bed, that I could not come nigh to her body, and, as shee was plac- 
ed, lying on her back, that it was impossible to deliver her. 

Shee would then get up, and put her self to her knees. 

After my usuall way, in the turning of the birth from head to 
feet, with some trouble, shee was delivered. Shee fainted, and was ill 
afterward. But God was merciful unto her, in that hee did not reward 
her according to her rash, passionated follies, and shee recovered. 

Alice Smith of Darby, dwelling at Nun-Green, was disquieted by 
her ignorant, perverse midwife, for the space of ten dayes. After which 
time, being ill, and fainting, her neighbours laid her on her bed, sup- 
posing her to bee dying, whilst that some others of them came to my 
house for mee. 

But I was abroad, yet I went unto her so soon as I came home, 
about eight a clock that night. 

Shee desired to bee quiet, and hoped, That shee should sleep. 
So I returned to my house. 

In the morning, afore eight, I was sent for. The women thought 
that shee had flouded. Some small issue of blood there had been, but, 
before my comming, it was staid. - 

After this, shee complained of a fumes at her stomach. Her 
body was sweFd, so that shee could hardly breath. Her belly was also 
sweFd, and hard. The right side of her face was puft up, and her eye 
as good as closed with swellings. 

The inhabitants of our towne, being foule mouthed, and apt to 
censuring, and the miclwives of no good disposition, ever thrusting their 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

ignorant carriages upon others, made mee unwilling to use the crochet, 
although, in my thoughts, the child was departed, and did somewhat 


The head came first, but I put it back, as shee kneeled. Being 
placed behind her, I delivered her by the child's feet. The after-birth 
did stick to the womb, but I separated it from the sides, and brought it 
whole away, shee felt little pain in her delivery, and had a few after-pur - 
gings. Her face, and stomach swel'd more and more. 

Being laid in bed, I gave her two spoonfuls of oile of charity, 
which did much revive, and comfort her. 

Shee complained of the coldnes of her feet, there were laid warme 
bricks, wrapt in cloths, unto them. 

Yet, for all our helps, about some five, or six houres after, shee 
quietly departed, and her face presently corrupted. 

The child might have been well drawn with the crochet, but that 
operation would not have prolonged her life. Shee was ancient, and 
the os coccygis broad pointed, and turned inward. Had it pleased God 
to have given her a longer time, it would have been ten to one, but that, 
at some time or other, by bearing of children, shee might have perished 
in this bed, through the ill conformation of her bones. 




of the 

Per email Willughby, Gentleman. 


And, to prove the truth of this last report, severall following re- 
ports will make manifest what hath been said. 

Margery, the wife of William Barker, a painter in Darby, being 
severall dayes in labour, and, at the last, by her midwives left comfortles, 
without any hopes of delivery: By her, and her friends desires, my help, 
and assistance were requested. 

I found a narrow passage, and the child had not at all descended, 
being hindered by the broad end of os coccygis, inverted, and not flexi- 
ble, and the child too larg for so strait a passage, and the birth 
comming by the head. 

Whereupon, I turned the birth from the head, unto the feet, and 
thus I quickly laid her of a dead child, and shee soon recovered Novem- 
ber the fift 1666. 

Shee conceived again. In her travaile, shee suffered much ex- 
tremity; winch moved the woman, with her midwife, and her friends, 
to send to my house, and to desire my help again. But I was out of the 
Town, some fourteen miles from Darby. They thought it a long way to 
send, and nobody came to mee for her, but deferred time, in hopes of 
my comming home; though they all knew, that shee greatly desired my 
help, and that I would have come, for that I had promised- her my 
assistance, if need required. 

After six days suffering shee died July twenty five die Ois. 1669 
in my absence. 

After my returning to my house, the midwife told mee, That the 
child never descended, or came within the bones, and that her body 
being narrow, shee knew not how to deliver her; and that it was past 




Observations in Midwifery, by 

her understanding; and these things I knew well enough; that the bones 
would not permit, but hinder the passage, and, by this report, the pre- 
cedent is confirmed, and my words made true. 


August the fourth 1668 Mrs Mary Harley of Walton in the- 
wolds, being in labour, and having suffered three or foure dayes much 
affliction; her husband, with her desire, caused mee to bee sent for. 
The child came right, with the head pitched toward the bones. Shee 
had, severall times, strong forcing throwes, but they nothing availed. 
To move more strongly the expulsive faculty, I gave her severall doses 
of the midwife's powder, acuted with a larg quantity of Borax. But 
they nothing helped our desires, which made mee to suppose, That the 
child's head and body were too great for the passage. Shee was ancient, 
and I was greatly desirous to save the mother, with the child. 

Therefore I thought it good to put back the child's head, and to 
deliver her by the child's feet, the which I did about twelve a clock that 
night. And each particular seemed to answer our proceedings with 
good successe, for the present time. All of us thought the cliild had 
been dead. But, holding the feet toward the fire, and with laying the 
after -birth on hot coales, and stroaking the navel-string toward the 
belly, the child revived, and was baptized the sunday after, and was 
named Mary. 

The child's tender feet were blistered through the heat of the fire, 
and carelesnes of the women. 

As for the good woman. Shee was very well for the space of an 
houre, after her delivery, and, for her preservation, shee gave God 
thanks, and for my care of her shee also thanked mee. 

After this time shee fainted, and I was ignorant of the cause, 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


whether it might bee through some clottering of blood in the womb, or 
through the losse of blood, wee thought that shee would have presently 
died; for that shee had no pulse, little, or no breathing to bee perceived, 
her face altered with blackening, and shee was quite deprived of her 


Bat, through God's permission, • with cordiall spirits, shee was 
again restored, and shee recovered her breathing, and the use of her 
senses, and took good rest all that night following. 

Shee was subject to a scouring, the which I disliked. I gave her 
severall medicines to prevent it. But, above all, shee praised, and best 
liked the boiled milk with pepper. At her friends desire I stayed with 
her ten dayes. I would willingly have stayed longer, for that I feared 
her weaknes. But, perceiving that they were willing to let mee go, I 
took leave, and departed, after that I had left them some directions. 

It was reported that shee was afflicted with convulsions toward 
the end of the moneth, and so died. And whether any loosnes, or 
what other infirmity might happen unto her, I know not. Her friends 
never more did send unto mee to acquaint mee with her condition. 

But the child is lively, and thriveth, and every day getteth 

Had I not drawn the child by the feet, the mother would not 
have been delivered. And, if that I still had deferred time, in hopes to 
have had a naturall birth, this child, born so weak, would have perished 
in the mother's womb, and the mother with it, and they would not have 
been separated. 

I twice delivered one Goodwife Katherine Renshaw in Stafford. 

M % 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

At the last time blood clottered, and began to congeale in her body, a- 
bout an houre after her delivery; through which shee was much pained, 
and began to faint. 

I dipped my finger into oile, and put it up into her body, and 
there gently I moved my finger three, or foure times, and presently the 
clotters of blood issued forth in abundance from the womb. Without 
any more disquiets shee soone recovered. 



A diffi- 

birth by 
the head. 

Both these infants I turned from the head to the feet, to deliver 
the woman. The first child was still-borne, the second lived three, or 
foure yeares, and then died of the small pox. 

I was sent for to come to one Goodwife Wilder, where I found 
midwives tormenting the woman. The child came by the head, and the 
midwives hoped, by haling, and stretching her body, to deliver her. 

. But when I perceived their tormenting, ignorant wayes, and found 
that the infant's head was great, and would not descend, I placed her, 
kneeling, on a bolster, and put her head down to a pillow, placed in a 
woman's lap, sitting afore her. I put back the head into the hollownes 
of the woman's body, and turned the birth unto the feet, and thus I 
quickly delivered her about June 1646 of a dead child, and shee was 
living, at Twyford in Darbyshire, severall yeares afterward. 

Mar. 1. 1670 I was desired to come to Tutbury in Stafford-shire 
by Thomas Key, to help to deliver his wife Katherine Key, with whom 
three midwives had been, and one of them, with much strugling, and 
haling, had greatly tormented this distressed woman. 

This travailing woman assured mee afterward. That, had shee had 
strength, shee would have kicked this midwife into the fire, for that 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


shee did nothing else, but pull, and stretch her body with all violence, 
to enlarg the passages, not caring, if that shee had torn her body to do 

The child's head was too great to slide through these narrow pas- 
sages, and the shoulders larg. 

After the child had somewhat entered the bones, some (if not all 
of them) took hold on the skin of the head, the which was made raw 
and red by their pullings, and the cuticula with the haire, was flayed 
from the skin. They also endeavoured to separate the sutures of the 
head, and had, in part, done it. The skin of the head was pulled from 
the skull, and was swelled much bigger than a* man's fist ; and part of 
the child's braines was squeezed through the sutures into this tumour. 
So the head was lessened through the woman's endeavours to bee laid, 
and the midwife's enforcements. But the skin was thick, and tough, 
and did hold without tearing, or breaking. 

I made a ligature upon this swel'd tumour; and, with difficulty, I 
drew forth the head, but it stuck at the shoulders, and, although I had 
the help of drawing by the head, wrapt in a linen cloth, yet it would 
not stir by my strength in drawing, untill I put a fillet with a slip-knot 
about the child's neck, and intreated a woman to help to draw by it. 
Through her assistance, with my endeavours, the female infant was 
drawn forth from her body. 

Shee had been five dayes in extremity. The infant was, in some 
parts, flayed, and did somewhat smell. Shee had a loosnes within three 
dayes after, but it was not violent, and it did not disquiet her body, but 
staid of it self, and shee recovered. I went to see her July the 10 


Observations in Midwifery, by 



dren . 

TNota, when a child hath lieu long in the body dead, the skin will 
flay off, and the body of it will putrefie, and smell. 

I was at Colton in Staffordshire, about the yeare 1655, and was 
there desired to help a poor woman, that had hen severall dayes in ex- 
tremity, and the birth was by the head. But, finding her weak, and, in 
probability, not likely to live many houres, I entreated all the women to 
pardon mee, and my endeavours, for that I perceived, that shee had too 
long suffered, and would not live. But the woman in labour, with her 
neighbours, and relations, greatly desired, and intreated my help. Tor 
life or death, shee resigned herself to God's will, and determination. 

I put up my hand anointed into her body, I turned the birth, and 
presently drew away the child by the feet. It was dead, and grievously 
smelt, and was flayed and sweFd, being great in body. In her body 
internally shee was very cold. 

According to my prediction, within few houres after her de- 
livery, and my departure, shee died. And all the sweet herbs, with 
bran, and warm water, that I washed, and rubbed my hands with, did 
not remove from them the stinking smell of this child's infected body 
for severall dayes afterward. Shee was Robert Middleton's wife. 

And, seeing some women bee in great clanger of death, having 
overgrown children in the womb, the passages being incapable of farther 
dilatation, which happeneth, when the child in all his body is too great 
for the passage, chiefly in the head, and shoulders, and yet, in part, hath 
entered the bones, and that the child hath hen long in the womb, dry, 
and deprived of all humidity, so that there is no hope left to turn the 
birth unto the feet; In this sad case it is the safest way to draw the 
child with the crochet, after that it is dead, rather then to put back the 
head to fetch the feet. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


The hand, in this sad condition, will bee very grievous for the wo- 
man to suffer, oft producing evill accidents. And this operation will 
prove difficult to bee performed, when that the woman hath long suffer- 
ed, and that the body is left dry, after that all the humours, moistening 
the womb, have flowed. 

The crochet is of most excellent use, to extract the dead child, 
when it is locked between the os pubis, and coccygis, and cannot bee 
displaced, or pushed upward, to turn, and so to draw it forth by the 
feet, without hurting the mother, or endangering her life, through 

It is also convenient to take forth a child's head, that is pulled 
off, and so left in the womb. 

It should bee about 10 or 11 inches long, of a reasonable circuit 
in the head of it, that it may take hold; and not too sharp pointed, but 
rather somewhat bluntish. 

And, for feare, in your working, you should not certainly know 
where the point of your instrument bendeth, let there bee a broad nick, 
or notch, or some other mark in the handle of your instrument; right 
against the point of it, and it will direct you where the point resteth, 
and winch way it turneth. Without such a mark you cannot, alwayes, 
well find the point of your instrument. 

"I know not a better instrument, than the crochet, to help a wo- 
man in extremity, when shee is overwearied, and that her strength, with 
all other meanes, doth faile, and the woman's body very narrow, or 
strait, or swel'd by violent enforcements, and the child dead. 

But, if it bee not used with great care, and judgment, it may 

Observations in Midwifery, by 

My cou- 
sin Ham- 




prove destructive, by ill fixing, as well as by tearing, and losing the 
hold, as also by hasty, and rash drawing, and so wo and the woman. 

A Gentlewoman, and one nearly related to mee, was delivered by 
a man midwife, whilest that I dwelt at London. Hee caused a sheet to 
bee held over him, that her body, and his hands might bee covered, for 
that nobody should see his rash follies, and a bason to bee set nigh to 
her body afore him. His instrument, as hee worked, did overslip his 
hand, and was heard to fall into the bason, and, in probability, the wo- 
man's body was wounded by his instrument, through his ill using of it. 

If this narration was truly related to mee, by those women, that 
were present at her delivery, his work was carried on with much un- 
handsomenes, and accompanied with great ignorance. 

Shee soon after rotted in the womb, from whence noisome vapors, 
and ill sented fluxes issued; and so this poor soul, within a few dayes 
after, miserably finished her life. 

I was sent for to Colton about the yeare 1654 to help a poor wo- 
man (Mercy Haywood) that had hen long in labour. The child was too 
great for the passage. I deferred the operation very long. And, when 
nothing prevailed to awaken the throwes, or to drive forth the child, 
(perceiving at the last, the child to bee dead) I drew it with the crochet, 
and brought it away indifferent easily. Shee afterward recovered her 
health, and strength, and I saw her well in the yeare 1667, as also 167i 
in Jan 26. 

At Brelsford about the yeare 1634 I layd a Gentlewoman, that 
had lien severall dayes in labour. The child came by the head, and did 
stink. I quickly drew it with the crochet. Shee soon recovered her 
weaknes, and, afterward, had severall children. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


I was sent for to Scrapton in Darbyshire by Mrs Agard, Mr John 
Agard' s wife, and desired to come to deliver a baker's wife, that was 
formerly her servant. I was not willing to bee too hasty with her. 
But, when neither medicines, or a warm bed, or other wayes would not 
prevail e, I used the crochet, and I was not long in delivering her of a 
dead child. This was done about the yeare 1646. 

There was a poor woman, wife to an under-cook, servant to Sr 
Henry Willughby at Risly. Shee travailed of a great child. The 
birth came by the head. My help was desired. I put her off a long 
time, fearing the child might bee alive. But it was dead. Shee began 
to rave, and was somewhat distracted, and to discolour in her face. The 
cliild was entered within the bones, and could not conveniently bee 
tinned back. Therefore I was forced to draw it with the crochet, and 
shee recovered. But, afterward, for the present, shee could not hold 
her water, untill a yeare, or more, had passed over, and had strength- 
ened, and setled her weak body. 

Aug: Anno 1668 the twelfth day, Jane Potter, the wife of Adam 
Potter of Dufneld, having been in labour for severall dayes, was de- 
sirous of my help. Her body had been much strugled with by severall 
midAvives. The child was corrupted, and did unsavourilly smell. There- 
fore I would not offer to disquiet her with more strivings, to turne the 
child from the head to the feet, but drew it leasurely with the crochet ; 
and, in the drawing, moisture issued out of her fundament. I never 
knew, or observed the like in any woman afore. After that shee was 
delivered, shee was at ease for two dayes. Then a loosnes seized on her 
body, and of it shee died in the week following. 

When the infant shall hasten to the birth with one hand appear- 
ing, the midwife shall, in no case, receive him, but put back the arme 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

speedily, and bring his head downward, to a naturall birth. And if, in 
case the midwife cannot do it, and is ignorant how to alter the birth by 
bringing it to the head, or rather to the feet, then I could wish they 
would follow the counsell, to bring the woman again to her bed, and 
there to place her with her face upward, and her head bending back- 
ward, her middle part lying higher then the rest of her body, which 
being . done, the midwife shall bind down her belly toward the midriffe 
in a reasonable manner, that so shee may drive, and force the infant into 
the womb, and may minister occasion, that hee proceed forth in another 

I wish the midwife to make choice of a good rouler, somewhat 
broad, and to begin her rouling as low as shee can toward the botom of 
her belly, drawing the labouring woman's belly upward with the rouler, 
somewhat strait, toward her hips, or lower parts, but not too hard, and, 
afterward, to roule more easily, by degrees, toward the navel. 

After this, let the labouring woman move, and roule herself to, 
and fro, in, or upon her bed, having her head much lower than her hips, 
having her thighes, and belly higher then the rest of her body, un- 
till such time, that the infant shall bee perceived to bee returned up 
again, and shall appear altered in an apt, or convenient forme, or way 
for delivery. 

And some assisting woman may do her good service to stroke up- 
ward her belly to help to remove the child, and so to reinforce him 
again into the womb. But I never have used this way. 

But when an arme commeth alone, do not endeavour to reduce it, 
by putting it up, but slide up your anointed hand into the woman's 
body, over the child's arme, and gently force up your hand. If it bring 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


you to the back, the same will feele hard. Do not take your hand forth 
of the woman's body, but turn it round toward the child's belly, where 
you shall find the child's feet. Draw by the feet, as directed, the arme 
will reduce itself, as the body turneth round. Thus you may soone de- 
liver any woman by the child's feet. 

If that you find that the child's arme will not move to reduce 
itself, and that the child's body will not easily bee turned round, then 
conceive that the child's shoulder is locked in the neck of the womb, 
between the bones. 

To help this let, or hinderance, take the child's arme, and, hold- 
ing it in your hand, thrust it upward into her body, yet without violence, 
and it will remove this let, and then the child, without any farther 
trouble, will soone turne, and so bee born by the easy drawing of the 

Without kneeling on a bolster a child cannot well bee turned. 

Thus all other births, as belly, back, buttocks, with the knees, 
may bee reduced to the feet. 

It will bee much better, and more for the midwives credits, to 
make use of the way of rouling, rather then to pull the infant by the 
arme, or to cut it off. Tor, so doing, the infant is alwayes destroyed, 
and very oft the mother with it. 

But, if the arme will not remove, and return again, by the wo- 
man's moving, or rouling herself to and fro on the bed, yet do not offer, 
in that posture, to deliver her, nor to draw the infant by the arme. 

But rather in a bending posture, descending, deliver the woman 
kneeling on a bolster. And the midwife being placed behind her, let 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

her not endeavour to reduce the arme, but rather, by degrees, leasurely 
to slide up her anointed hand over the child's arme, and gently to force 
it upward. This way will bring her hand to the infant's feet, or to the 
twist of the legs, so shee may easily obtain a foot, the winch shee may 
bring down, holding it between her forefinger, and middle finger, in her 
hand griped, with her thumb laid over her fingers. After that shee 
hath brought it forth, let her hold it in a soft linen cloth, or put a fillet, 
with a slip knot, over the heele, whilest that shee fetcheth the other foot 
(if easy to bee found) or, if the woman's body bee not very narrow, let 
her draw gently by the foot, untill the child is drawn nigh to the but- 
tocks. Then shee may see where the other foot resteth, which, without 
any striving, with her bended finger, placed in the hip of the child, by 
easy drawing, shee may bring it forth. 

Let the midwife joine the feet together, and, holding them in a 
soft, linen cloth, let her draw leasurely, and the child's body will turne 
round, and the arme will go up with the shoulder, reducing itself, beyond 
belief, or the expectation of many midwives. 

Afterward, when it is drawn to the loines, or to the breast, ob- 
serve whether the child's face bee turned toward the back of the woman. 
If it bee not, turn it, holding the body, between your hands, in a soft, 
linen cloth, that the face of the child may bee toward the back of the 

The child will turn easily, without any danger to it, not at all 
troubling, or hurting the woman. 

Then let the midwife draw again gently, and leasurely, untill it 
come nigh unto the neck, then let her slide up her anointed hand, be- 
tween os coccygis (which is the rump bone, so called by midwives) and 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


and the child's face. Then putting her middle finger a little way into 
the child's month, and placing her other fingers over the child's face, 
and pressing down the child's chin into the pit of the child's throat, and 
and causing an assistent woman, at that time, to lay a flat hand upon 
the mother's belly, over against the child's head, and some part of the 
hand above the head, willing her to thrust off the head gently, and by 
degrees, that it rest not, to make any stay on os pubis (which midwives 
call the share-bone) and, at that instant of this pressure, let the mid- 
wife, or some other body, gently, and leasurely draw by the hips, or feet, 
and the child will quickly, and without all danger, bee born. Thus 
doing, shee needs not to feare the breaking of the child's neck, or the 
endangering of the pulling off the head from the child's shoulders. 

Therefore to reduce the arme is needles, and, besides, it causeth 
much trouble, and it helpeth nothing toward the delivery. It hath oft 
much disquieted, and afflicted the woman with great paines, and needles 
tortures, as you may observe hereafter by severall births, that I have 
laid. I have known, through midwives violence, the armes of children 
broken, whiles! that they endeavoured to reduce them, and, with their 
rashnes, they have destroyed the children, and greatly endangered the 
woman's life. 

Cleare Pearson, the wife of Richard, dwelling at Tenant bridg in 
Darby anno 1650, or about that time, tooke for her midwife Goodwife 
Spencer. The child's arme came down. Shee could not reduce it, shee 
having long time, suffered much haling,, and pulling by the child's arme, 
and the midwife, not knowing how to help her, by all the women, at 
the last, my assistance was desired. 

I found the arme swel'd, discoloured, and mortified. I placed 
her kneeling on a hard bolster, and put her head down, in a descending 

Do what 
you please 
if that you 
find these 
oft re- 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

posture, to a pillow, that was laid on a woman's lap, sitting afore her. 
I gently slid up my anointed hand into her body. I quickly found the 
child's foot, and, by the feet, I gently drew the child; the body of the 
child turned round, the arme slided up of itself. I kept the child's 
face toward the back of the woman. I put my middle finger into the 
child's mouth, and placed my other ringers over the child's face, then I 
drew again leasurely by the feet. So the child was soon born, and the 
after-birth was quickly fetched, and shee safely delivered, and laid in her 
bed. And all this was done in lesser time then half a quarter of an 
houre, as severall women, yet living, can testifie this to bee true, and so 
performed. And, in a short space, shee recovered. 

About a yeare, or two, after this time, this woman had the same 
birth again, and had the help of 3 midwives, and each one of them used 
much violence. In her sufferings, shee intreated, and desired them to 
lay her the same way, as Mr. Willughby had done. Shee told her mid- 
wives, that hee did not hurt her. But they concluded, That it must bee 
drawn by force from her. Some held the woman, whilest that others 
violently pulled the child from her by the arme, and thus shee was tor- 
tured by them to bee delivered. I was sent for to Stafford, and came 
to her some foure houres after her delivery, and found the woman much 
spent, and weake, and deprived of the use of her lower lhnbes. Shee 
presently smelt very unsavourily. Shee rotted in the womb, and, within 
two dayes after, died, through their unhandsome doings. 

Usually, for the most part, when the arme commeth down, igno- 
rant midwives destroy the child, by violent drawing by the arme, in 
hopes, speedily to deliver the woman by their great strength, by drawing 
by the child's arme, to put it out of the mother's body. At last, their 
endeavours proving bad, not with their consent, or desires, but through 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


the perswasions of their friends, I have been sent for, to help severall 
women in their extremities. 

In February Anno 1664, Mary Barton, the wife of Simon, living 
at Chelhston, some three miles from Darby, had her child comming by 
the arme. After some sufferings, her husband came for mee, whilest 
that the child was alive. But the midwife would bee working, and, 
with her pulling by the child's arme, shee had destroyed the infant, 
before I could come unto the house. 

I drew down the feet; the arme, without any enforcement, reduced 
it self, through the circular motion of the child's body turning round. 
The woman recovered, and shee hath oft thanked mee for being instru- 
mental! for the saving of her life. 

I do not think it amisse here, in this place, to insert verba An- 
tonii Everardi, M. D. 

Referam, hoc casu, quid beatee mese conjugi accideret. Tertio 
fsetu gravidam, nono prcegnationis mense, labores parturientium arripi- 
unt circa noctem. Mox rupta aqua (ut, hie, mulieres loqui amant) 
extra genitale infantuli manus propendit. Ubi obstetrix advenisset, 
uxorem meam in sedili collocavit, eamq ad continuos conatus (me no- 
lente nee instigante natura) adegit. Cum vero res eo modo non succe- 
deret, meamq conjugem supra sedem continuo detineret, ac diris craciati- 
bus illapsam ex uteri cervice manum, brachiumq retrudere in uterum 
niteretur, quo fcetuin ad exitum commodius disponeret, Ego, prae dolore 
charge meae conjugis impatiens, ac indesinenter obstetricem admonens, ne 
quidem elapsi membri reductionem in uterum cogitaret possibilem, multo 
minus moliretur; secundam obstetricem accersiri jussi,prEesertim cum uxor 
mihi nunciaret, quid obstetrix earn dilaceraret per illam praeconceptam, 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

ac miseram elapsi membri repulsioneni. Cum insequenti die mane ob- 
stetrix altera venisset, ilia manus ad opus applicans, remq clihgenter 
explorans, uxorem naeaiii in lectum deposuit, mandavitq, ut quietam se 
detineret, nullosq conatus excitaret, nisi quando natura earn sui admon- 
eret officii. Interim obstetrix ilia prudens, et expertissima prsedixit 
inihi, amicisq preesentibns, uxorem meam non ante parturam, quam 
foetus in utero ex indebito situ, irritisq conatibus strangularetur, quod 
eventus docuit. Multiplicati sunt labores parturientis, et foetus, inflexo 
ad dorsam capite, (salva matre) prodiit in lucem. 

I suppose that this learned Gentleman had not much judgment in 
the practice of midwifery, when that hee did write his wife's sorrowfull 
case, with her great sufferings, and her midwife's ignorant doings. 

Had the first midwife, so soon as shee came, reduced the arme 
before shee brought her to her stoole, shee might have had the better 
successe, yet it proved her to bee the better midwife, for that shee en- 
deavoured to reduce it, although shee failed in the performing of it, 
knowing, That the child could not bee born in that unnaturall posture. 

For the second midwife, shee was onely to bee commended for 
that shee took her from sitting on the stoole, and putting her to bed. 
For her predictions, they were ridiculous. Shee might have said, That 
the mother, through this labour, might as well have perished, as the 
child; or that the child would bee first strangled, before it would bee 

But God was mercifull unto this labouring woman in her dis- 
tresse, and it is not to bee doubted, but that the posture of the unnat- 
uraE birth was altered as shee lay in the warm bed, and moved, and 
turned herself from side to side in the same. And I am confident, That 

Percivall Willu^hby, Gentleman. 


neither the Doctor,, or either of the midwives did, or could receive the 
child in this posture, having the head turned backward, and lying on 
the child's back, and thus shee to bee delivered. 

But this good Dr. giving too much credence to tins last prating, 
ignorant midwife, and to her vain predictions, by her words was de- 
luded. Otherwise hee would not have published what no woman, 
though little verst in midwifery, can imagine to bee true. 

Isabel Dakins, of Burrowes Ash nigh Darby, was delivered by 
mee of a dead child Nov. last die Ois 1664 about six a clock at night. 

The arme came down. I did not put up the arme, but delivered 
her quickly by the feet of the child. The arme went up, of itself, 
without any forcing, and shee soon recovered, and is living. 

In the yeare 1633 I was intreated to come to one Goodwife 
Osborn of Ockesbruck, whose child's arme had beene in the world foure 
dayes, from Thursday till Sunday at night, and the cliild was not dead, 
nor the arme corrupted. I found with her two midwives, whom I much 
commend, for that they had not pulled the child by the arme, nor had 
offered any violence to the mother, or the child. 

I saw that the arme was not swel'd, and that it was ruddy, and of 
a good lively colour. I put my finger into the child's hand, and the 
child did gripe it. 

I asked the midwives what they thought of tins child, whether it 
was alive, or dead. They said, That the child was as dead as a doore 
naile, and that I might do what I would with it. I shewed them their 
great mistake, and said, That a dead child could not hold one by the 
finger, and shewed them the child's hand holding my finger. 

An arm 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

I placed the woman kneeling, I quickly reduced the arme. 
After this a sudden throw seized on her, and tumbled out, in an instant, 
both infant, and after-burden together. 

This narration I thought good to mention, to shew the force of 
nature, how quickly shee performed her work, after that the obstacle 
was removed; and that the child's arme, in foure dayes, did not corrupt. 
Her son, and shee were living in the yeare 1660. I saw this man, her 
son, again in 1668. 

And I beleeve, that, if midwives would forbeare (as these two 
midwives did) all violent strugliugs, and pulling of children by their 
armes, in this unnaturall birth of the comming first by the arme, and 
that they would bee patient, and stay untill better help could be attain- 
ed, that many infants would bee borne alive, which, by their rash, im- 
patient hastines, bee destroyed in the mother's womb. 

And, from this child, I beleeve, in part, but not absolutely, that, 
if a dead child bee found holding anything in the hand, that the mother, 
or somebody else, is not quite free from the death of the child. But I 
will not absolutely conclude the mother to bee guilty of the murder of 
the infant. 

Alice, the wife of Ralph Doxy, was delivered by mee of a dead 
child. The arme came first, and it was mortified by the midwives pull- 
ings. I slid up my hand, and, upon the child's belly I found the 
knees. I fetched down the feet, and quickly laid her at Snelton, Apr. 
27 die Ois 1662. 

Grace Edinser, the wife of William Eclinser of Elton in Darby- 
shire, had the same birth, and, after the same manner, I quickly deliver- 
ed her by the child's feet, May 24 circa meridiem 1 662. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


I travailed all night in May 1631 and came to Nottingham by 
sun-rising to one Mrs. Reason. With her I found two midwives, and 
severall other women of good credit, and repute, all expecting my 
coinming, and desiring my help. I found Mrs. Eeason Aveake, and, 
through her long sufferings, her countenance began to chang, and I 
perceived her nose half way palish. The birth came by the arme, the 
which the midwives endeavoured to reduce, but failed in the performance, 
and the child was dead by their operations. 

I thought it not good with new strivings to disquiet her body, by 
turning the birth to the feet, but rather to take the arme off close to the 
shoulder, and, afterward, to draw forth the body of the dead child with 
the crochet, following the counsell, and directions of Pareus. 

All these operations were quickly performed, and the after-birth 
was soon obtained. So she was laid into her bed. Thus shee was 
eased of her tortures, after her delivery. I gave her an infusion of tin 
in white wine, which was made in a quart pewter pot, having the lid 
put down, and so the pot was kept warm by the fire, of which shee took 
every morning, and night, a wine glasse full. 

This medicine kept her body in a gentle, breathing sweat, and 
shee was much refreshed by it. By degrees shee recovered her health, 
with strength. Yet, for some time, the neck of her bladder was so in- 
feebled, that shee could not hold her water, but, as strength increased, 
this infirmity left her, and shee lived in good health, above 30 yeares 
after her sufferings. 

Mercatus doth not approve of the cruelty in cutting riving chil- 
dren in several pieces to deliver women. 

Yerum inquit licet hsec omnia prodesse non videantur; ad 

Place this 
with unnatu- 
rall births. 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

crudele illud, et inhumanum chirurgise opus, quo vivus dissecatur puer 
(dictu profecto horrendum) confugieudura nunquain est, etiam si, ex 
Avic. Aefcij, et Moschionis consilio, fieri posse constet : quod uou liceat 
christiano virum interficere, vitse alterius gratia. Prseterquarn quod 
multi citra onmem expectationem salvantur. 

Sed, implorata Domini nostri Jesu Christi miserieordia, iterum ad 
tutiora foetui, et matri auxilia redeundum esse arbitror; et iterum ten- 
tanda qua? antea diximus, vel alia denuo experiunda. 

ft corticum cassia?, fistula? 5iij bulliant in vino albo tenui ad 
medietatem ; Cujus cyathum unum cum jure cicerum et 9j cinam. porri- 
ges. Prodest et singulis lioris absorbere croci gr. x. cum rnodico vino 
albo. Suffumigium item exungula muli. Conferunt quoq. pilulae, 
qua? recipiunt cinam. cas. lign. cumin, aristoloch. myrr. costi aa ^iiij 
styra. rubia? aa 3ij Sabin. 5ijss opii gr. viij. Fiant pil. cujus quantitas 
sit 5s. Sic pra?stat non parum illud medicamentum, quod recipit sabin. 
^iij rutse 5ij cicut. 3J hysso. Cinam. rub. tinctor. aa 5iij. Fiant pil. 
quarum porrigere poteris 5J aut 3s cum decocto sabina?. 

Yalet etiam suffumigium ex stercore vacca?, et pessarium quod 
recipit myrr. hellebor. nigri, opipanacis, fellis tauri aa partes a?quales. 
Terantur, et fiant pessaria longiuscula. 

Interim, turn in uteram, ut consulit Avicen. lubrificantia, et cero- 
taria subtilia, et mucilagines infundes. et adipes liquefactos, et albumen 
ovi, et vitellum ejus. 

Utimur etiam sequenti clysmate, per syringam aut cannam infuso. 
ft lactis vacca? ^iiij pinguedinis porcina? 5 s muceaginis lini et raclicis 
althea? aa giij M. Quibus factis, tentet iterum diligens obstetrix, aut 
peritus cbirurgus, dexteritate et vi illata, puerum evellere, nitens, et omni 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


arte studens puerum extrahere vivum, licet sit cum periculo aliquo de- 
formitatis, vel quod manens supersit, imbecillus, aut utcunq. lcesus, 
Cavens diligenter, ne voluntarie ipsum interficiat. Nam, si malum ali- 
quod illi, hac ratione, sucereseat, levius est. 

Interim autem vires parturientis omni arte reflcere oportet, et 
pueri umbilicum non resecare, donee vel rningat, vel pleret, aut aliquo 
modo ex labore partus reficiatur, quod Hippocrates docuerat lib. de 

Si forte contigerit matrem in partu periclitari, ffetu intus vivo su- 

perstite, quod ex motibus, et subsaltationibus infantis conjicies, turn 

demum, posthabita matris, cura ejus tantum habenda est. Principio 

igitur convenit morientis os, et genitalia patentia adservare; ut per ea 

vitalem spiritum, et anhelitum recipere possit 

et sectione uteri sic nati Csesares 


I never used this harsh and cruell way. Yet ignorant men have 
used it with, happy successe. But to some it hath proved unfortunate. 
It is a work not difficult to performe. It hath been performed by 
ignorant men, and the women have recovered. But I prefer the work 
don by the hand, by turning the birth from the head to the feet. And 
in my thoughts it is much safer then the Ceesarean section or crochet. 

I have seen two men. For the delivery of them the midwives 
used their fingers instead of other instruments. One of them had his 
eye put forth. The other not only lost his eye, but Ms cheek on one 
side torne, yet they both lived to man's estate. 

Vide the schemes, and take that, which serveth best ; for the 
Cesarean Section, I do not like it. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

By the mother's weakness and too much slimy moisture, abiding 
in the mouth of the womb, a child may be so enfeebled, that neither 
the mother, or the child have power, through nature's force, to helpe 
themselves. So nature becommeth sluggish, and ceaseth to drive forth 
the child; and this overabounding with humidity is, usually, found 
destructive both to the mother and the child. 

I have observed, that much moisture lying about the passages of 
the womb, cloth much enfeeble the mother's expulsive faculty. It 
maketh the child sluggish, and the mother weake, and both their 
spirits drowned with humidity. 

So also too much drines, when all the waters have issued before 
the birth, the child will not descend, because of the siccity, but 
abideth, as it were, imprisoned, and locked up in the womb. 

In these two cases, with your hand first endeavour to see what 
help may be afforded, if that the mother's weaknes will permit. 

But if you cannot prevaile by the hand, and medicines no way 
help, necessity, as the last refuge, will compell you to use the crochet, 
in hopes, to save the mother's life. 

Tender consciences have consulted with Divines, in these ex- 
tremities, what is most fitting to bee done, to save the mother's life. 
The more judicious and mercifull hearted have willed to reliev the 
mother, and I shall consent to their judgments. 

The more ignorant, and merciles men would not yield to help 
either the mother, or child. 

In this sad doubt, and grievous operation, both mother and child 
will perish, unles the mother bee relieved by the crochet, or the child 
by the Cesarean Dissection. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Dr. Harvey saith, there are chiefly two sorts of unnaturall births, 
namely, when the foetus is either born before, or after the time allotted 
by nature (and this is a kind of abortive birth) and the birth proves 
difficult and painfull, because it doth not succeed in that manner, and 
order as it ought to do. Or else it is hindered by some bad symp- 
tomes, which commeth to passe, chiefly for two reasons. 

1. Namely, that the mother doth faile in her expulsive office. 

2. Or else, that the foetus is himself but sluggish, and so doth 
not promote Ins owne release. 

For a. facile and naturall delivery relieth upon the endeavour, and 
joint furtherance of both parties. 

Now, when the poor, afflicted, labouring woman hath made use 
of the utmost of her strength, and endeavours, to produce a birth, and 
that her life lyeth bleeding, with tortures, and pangs of labours no way 
helping her, and that, in her sorrowfull miseries, shee intreateth to bee 
helped, and to save her life ; who can bee so unnaturall to deny her 
request ! when that by other wayes shee cannot bee helped. 

I was, by my good friend Dr. John Fisher, intreated to visit a 
gentlewoman in labour. The birth-place was very moist, and filled with 
a bloody ish moisture. Shee had no throws. The expulsive faculty was 
extinct. The child was sluggish, and weake, no way helping his own 
release, yet her paines continued ; and medicines prevailed nothing to 
procure her delivery. Yet I believed, by some signes, that the child 
might bee living. Therefore I deferred the time, and put her off for a 
day, and a night, in reference to the delivery. In the ensuing morning, 
I found that shee had suffered a restles night, and that her spirits were 




Observations in Midwifery, by 

dejected, and shee much troubled for my delaying, and shee told lier 
husband, that shee could not, much longer, continue with these ex- 
tremities, without some speedy help ; which moved her husband to bee 
troubled, and offended with my delayes, saying that Ms wife would bee 
lost, if that shee longer suffered. But I told him, that I thought that 
the child was living, and that I was unwilling to have my hands tinc- 
tured with blood. 

Her husband sent for the minister. Hee, speaking with the 
woman, and seing her weaknes, the minister did move mee to draw the 
child, and assured mee, although the child was living, that I might law- 
fully do it in such an extremity ; and by her husband's intreaties, with 
the desires of her, and her friends, and the minister's persuasions, I was 
overruled, and did draw away a weake living infant. The minister was 
at hand to baptize this weake child, which was as good as dying before 
it was extracted. 

After the extraction, the moist issue of bloodyish humours ceased, 
and her paines abated, and shee recovered. 

I stayed a day, and a night longer, after her delivery, and each 
tiring succeeded well for her amendment. 

A.nd, upon after considerations, I was better satisfied; that, had 
not this way been taken forthwith, that the mother, with a little longer 
delaying, would have perished, as well as the child. 

The birth came naturally by the head, but the humidity in the 
birth-place was great, and her Aveaknes greater. I feared to turn the 
child, and to bring the birth by the feet, least that shee should have 
perished, through the operation, under my hands. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


When the child is great, and all the waters have issued, a hard 
and difficult labour usually followeth. 

Anne Houghton of Darby, having been long in labour of a dead 
child, that was, for greatnes, a little gyant, desired my help. And al- 
though I knew that the child was dead, yet I was desirous to hear what 
a grave Divine would say in a doubtfull case, and, in my proceedings, to 
have his approbation. This Divine thought it much better to let the 
child perish, then to lose the mother's life with the child. Upon his 
words I did draw away the dead child with the crochet, and shee hath 
had severall children since, and shee was there living in health Anno 

Good wife Anne Barnet of Church Mayfield in Stafford-shire, 
Anno 1663 had suffered much through a corrupted, dead child, for 
severall dayes. 

I had delivered her of a dead child, two yeares afore this time. I 
thought that I could have laid her again by the feet, but, through the 
chines of the womb, the child would not move, and one of the legs se- 
parated at the knee, in the drawing by the child's foot. Seing this, I 
used the crochet to draw forth the head. Afterwards with much strug- 
ling, I brought forth the rest of the body. The child was great, and 
swel'd. It was rotten, and smelt unsavouryly ; upon the after-birth, 
nigh to the navel-string, was a gangrene, with blisters. Yet this woman 
recovered, and did well, and had a child since Anno 1668 and shee was 
living in Anno 1669. 

This woman putteth mee in mind of another woman, that did 
well, at Spoonedon. Shee had the use of her limbs, from the navel 
downward, taken away, before I came unto her. Shee was sensible, and 


With dif- 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

rationall. I was unwilling to have laid her, for that shee was very weake ; 
assuring the women, that shee could not live many houres. Yet, at the 
woman's intreaty, together with the perswasions of her neighbours, shee 
was placed kneeling on the side of a bed, and was supported by the 
women, holding their hands under her belly. Without any forcing the 
child came of itself, and the body of it was full of great gangrened blisters. 
The woman, about an hour after, waxed sleepy. Not longer after shee 
departed, having her body corrupted with the child's rottennes. I had 
sweet herbs, with warm water to wash my hands. But the ill savour 
did not suddenly leave my hands. This was done about the yeare 1638. 


Elianor Ragge of Darby anno 1664 having had a long, and tedi- 
ous labour, was left undelivered by her midwife. Shee sent for mee ; 
no medicines prevailed. The waters were all issued, and the womb was 
left drie, and the child was dead. With much trouble I brought forth 
the head by the use of the crochet. It stuck very hard at the shoulders, 
and much at the breast. 

I was wearied, and spent with fainting, through much endeavour- 
ing, and striving to draw forth the rest of the body. For sometime I 
was enforced to leave the work, to recover again my strength. The 
work came on very slowly, by little and little, and difficultly, until it 
came past the navell. I beleeve that I was an houre, or more, in 
striving to get the body forth. Shee patiently suffered all the time. 

At last God permitted her a gracious help, and freed her of her 
sufferings. Contrary to my expectation, shee recovered, shee was long 
weak, and, from her bladder, during the extremity of her weaknes, 
came severall little soft stones, infolded, and wrapt in slime, and skins. 
Shee hath had another child since still-born. The os coccygis of her 
body is very broad, inverted inward, no way flexible, and this causes her 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


hard deliveries., and, I beleeve, that shee never will bring forth a mature 
child, living, at the full time of birth. 

Mrs. Middleton of Wandsly had suffered several! dayes 

great paines in labour, and was somewhat distracted with her sufferings. 

Shee was a little woman, and her child was too great for the pas- 
sage. I hoped that I could have drawn the child by the feet, but her 
body was narrow, and the womb was filled with the child, lying in a 
round lump. All the waters were issued, and her body was left drie ; 
so that I could not turn the child, after that I had obtained a foot in 
my hand, but was compelled to desist, and, at that time, to leave the 

This did put her to some paine, so that shee would have had 
her husband to have sent mee away. But, with good words, I regained 
again her favour, promising that I would hurt her no more. 

That day I placed her againe kneeling, and rinding that the child 
was dead, knowing that I could not alter the birth, I used the crotchet, 
by which the skull was much broken in pieces, yet it would not come 
easily. It did also stick greatly at the shoulders and at the breast. 

I was necessitated to intreat the assisting women, to turn the lips 
of her body over the child's limbs, by putting their ringers between 
her's, and the child's body, whilest that I drew the child with my hand, 
and instrument. 

This force was continued untill the child was drawn past the 
navell. Afterward, the rest of the body, with the afterbirth, was easily 
procured. So shee was laid in her bed. 

Shee was, sometimes, very sensible ; and then shee would fling 

p 2 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

off all the cloths, ; and he naked, if not carefully attended. Shee lived 
some five dayes, after her delivery ; and, being dead, shee voided much 
moisture by the mouth. 

I was in the house with a good lady, that was long in labour. In 
her extremity, I was called, by the midwife, unto her, and desired to 
feel how the birth came. I found the skull divided, one halfe thereof 
was born, but the other part was not come forth. I instructed the mid- 
wife how, quickly, to deliver her of tins dead birth. And afore, or, 
since that time, I never did see such a separation in the skull of any 
infant's head. 

This lady, for severall years, had an implacable enemy adhering 
to her body, (a troublesome loosenes) that took advantage of her 
weaknes in her child-bed, and through this loosenes, this good lady 
ended her dayes. In tins place put Catherine Davis. 

Difficulty of birth may also bee caused through ill position of the 
bones, which hath beene observed in such, as have beene crooked in 
their bodies. As also in others, which have weake backs, and loynes, 
going wadling in their childhood. As also in others, which have had 
the infirmity, called the Rickets ; and in such, as have been compelled 
to weare iron bodies, to keep them from being crooked. 

Through these meanes, their tender bones, in their minorities, 
have been so altered, and pressed together, and with time confirmed, 
that, losing, in part thus their circular roundness O have become O 
ovall, through which the child will never bee produced, but by violent 
force of hand, or by some instrument. Medicines, here can do no good. 
If it come by the head, the woman will not bee delivered without the 
use of the crochet. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


If the birth should bee turned to the feet, yet it would prove dif- 
ficult to save the child's life. 

Also, some women have the os eoccygis so fixt, that it will not go 
back at all, to give any enlargement to the departing infant. This causeth 
a difficult birth, chiefly, when it is broad at the end, and turned some- 
what inward. 

I knew a woman of low stature crooked, and not well framed in 
the position of her bones. It was her sorrowfull mishap alwayes to have 
her children drawn away from her body by a chirurgion, that used to lay 
women. They all died in the womb, or, at most, lived but a short time 
after the extraction. 

March the 23. 1660 I was called to a young woman, who had 
beene three dayes in labour, and the midwives knew not how to deliver 
her. They said, That the navel-string had been two dayes in the world. 
It was cold, and had no pulsation in it, and the child's head came first. 

I attended patiently on her, and on her friends desires, and was not 
willing hastily, or rashly to proceed. But when no medicines, nor the 
midwives endeavours prevailed not with her, then her husband (being 
a minister, with her own mother, and others of her friends) desired 
mee to make use of any way to save her life, though it were with in- 

After my usuall way, she kneeled on a bolster, I endeavoured to 
remove the child, and to return it again into the woman's body, in hopes, 
that, afterward, I might draw it forth by the feet. But, through the ill 
position of the bones, and greatnes of the child, squeezed in a lump 
together, I could not move it, or get my hand to the upper part of the 

Mrs. James, 

Mrs. Charles 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

Shee was of a low stature, and the birth-place narrow, and, in 
those places, ill framed. 

Being fully satisfied that the child was dead, I drew forth the head 
with the instrument, with some trouble. And, afterward (not easily) the 
rest of the body, and then immediately I fetched the afterbirth. 

Being laid in her bed, I gave her some oile of charity, and left 
her some oile of sweet almonds, to take sometimes, and Balsamum Hys- 
tericum to anoint the bruised places, which freed her of her after -paines, 
and sufferings. 

This woman, in her infancy, was afflicted with the rickets, which 
made her go wadling, and cringing in her back, and loines; the os coc- 
cygis, and pubis were too nigh, one to the other, ovally formed, and the 
point of os coccygis was broad, and bending inward, which hindered the 
descent of the child, and kept it from entering through the bones. 

At the end of three weekes, a loosnes did weaken her. In my 
absence, my wife sent her these directions, which proved succesfull. 

Shee first willed her to take a clyster of boiled milk with sugar. 
Afterward, to take, every half houre, a spoonful of julep, made of cinna- 
mon water three ounces, and diascordium three drachmes. To make 
her rice aleberies, and to see the rice in all her broths, and meats, and to 
take a thimblefull of the powder of acornes with their husks powdered 
together, at lest, thrice a day, with these things shee was recovered, and 

May the fourth 16611 gave her a visit, and found her walking in 
her house, well recovered, cheerfull, and hearty. Shee much commend- 
ed the clyster. Shee said that the midwives did all afflict her, chiefely 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


one of them, and that I troubled her not at all, in respect to their 

I prayed God to send her better succes, if that shee should have 
more children, and so taking my leave, departed. 

About two yeares after, shee had another child, and was again 
tormented by midwives. In her sufferings I was sent for, and, finding 
that the child had not entered through any part of the bones, I turned 
the birth, and drew it away by the feet, but the child was dead. Shee 
being ill, and weak, her old enemy, (a loosenes) did the second time as- 
sault her body, and brought her to her last end. 

I was called into Cheshire to a good woman in December 1650. 
Shee had been much afflicted with the rickets in her child-hood. Shee 
had severall children drawn from her body by the chirurgions at London, 
yet shee escaped, with much hazard of her life. Shee told me, That all 
her children were very livery at the beginning of her travaile, but they 
were all dead before they could be born. Her words I found true. For, 
in her travaile, when the waters flowed, the child was lively, and did 
suck my finger ; but, through the ill position of the bones, the child 
could not descend. Being desirous to save the child's life, I turned the 
child in the womb. Although I have known severall children born with 
more trouble,- and greater extremity, and live ; yet this child was dead 
before shee was delivered. And shee herself lived but a very short time 
after her delivery. 

All the time of her going with child, she was heartless, and de- 
jected, and conceited, That she should die in the child bed of this child. 
And for that cause fitted herself afore hand for her departure, by the 
receiving the holy Communion. 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

Mrs. Alestry, 
D. f 

January the 12 Anno 1669 I was intreated, and, at that time, 
engaged by a worthy, good, loving Gentleman, to bee ready to attend 
his good wife, and to assist her and her midwife (if need required) in the 
time of her travaile, with the best, and utmost of my endeavours. 

January the thirtieth, travail came upon her, about eleven o } clock 
in the night, and so continued with throwes, and paines all that night, 
and the next day, without any descent of the child. ' The paines con- 
tinued all the time in her back onely. 

At night January the 31 I was sent for, and, upon discourse with 
her, and the midwife, I conceived that the labor would be difficult, and 
full of danger, and I was much more afraid after that (with her consent) 
I had felt her body. I perceived that shee had undergone great strivings, 
and the lips of her body were sweFd, and the child far off, and the pas- 
sages very narrow, ovally formed, and the bones not far distant the one 
from the other. 

Whereupon 1 intreated her to take a gentle clyster, to dilate the 
wayes, and to supple her body, and to mitigate her paines, willing her to 
keep it all night, and to endeavour to sleep, and I stayed all that night 
in the house with her. 

The next morning Feb. 1, 1 caused a Doctor of Physick to be sent 
for, and the Divines were intreated their prayers, to desire God Alsuffi- 
cient, that, with his compassion, hee would be pleased to relieve her 
sufferings, with much mercy. 

I concealed nothing from the Doctor, either of Physick, or of my 
operations. I told him of my feares, and her great dangers. I desired 
his assistance. Whereupon wee concluded to appoint with externall 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


applications, to dilate the passages, and also internall medicines, to pro- 
mote labour. But, through the ill position of her body, these wayes 
nothing at all availing, I was earnestly intreated by the Doctor, from her 
husband, with severall others of her relations, to use the operation of 
the hand, to try, if possible, the birth might bee forced. Whereupon I 
did attempt it. 

The birth was comming by the head. I endeavoured to turn the 
birth, and would willingly have laid her by the infant's feet, but could 
not possibly effect it, for that I could not slide up any part of my hand 
into her body, and there was not room to force the head backwards. 

Our intention, and operations failing, I was earnestly moved againe 
to make use of instruments, to trie, if, by them, shee might bee delivered. 

I was much unwilling to use these wayes, for I feared, by reason 
of the narrow passage of her body, that I could not do it. But, by her 
husband, and friends, and the Doctor, with severall women, I was much 
perswaded, and intreated, by them all, to draw the child with instruments, 
and shee was willing to submit, in hopes to be delivered. 

But, through the narrow passage of her body, I could not get up 
my hand over any part of the head, to fix the instrument, nor, in any 
other part of it, to make a breach. 

Pier body was so strait, and narrow, that I could not put up my 
lingers half an inch on the side of the child's head ; and the bones of 
the infant's skull (so far as I could difficultly passe) were so hard, that, 
for want of roome to turn my hand, I could not enforce the instrument 
to take hold in any part of the child's head, whereby I might draw it 
forth, with the rest of the body. I, diverse times, altered the instru- 
ment, but all would not do any good. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

So I was necessitated to desist, without any hopes of delivery, 
not knowing which way to relieve her, and shee died. 

Nigh forty five yeares I have practiced in the midwife's bed, and, 
in it, I humbly thank God for his assistance, and help, I ever delivered 
all women, to whom I was called, this worthy good gentlewoman onely 

And my not delivering her was occasioned by the straitness of the 
passages, and the unusuall ill conformation of the bones near adjoining 
to the womb, with the hardnes of the child's skull. For her back bone 
was much inverted, and stood so pressed inward together with the os coc- 
cygis, that no room was left for the infant to passe through by the 
strength, and endeavour of nature, nor to admit of handv operation, for 
turning the child, or fixing an instrument. And, through these irre- 
moveable obstacles, tins virtuous, good woman perished. Of whom I 
can say no more, but that shee so lived, that no body had cause to speak 
any evil of her. 

She had been afflicted, in her infancy, with the rickets. Shee had 
very great, sweFd ancle-bones, she went wadling, and her left leg was 
shorter then the other, and the middle of her back was much inverted, 
from the hips to the shoulders. Shee was of a very low, and of a little 
small stature. 

Sometimes women, after long travailing, and no hopes of delivery 
left, being weake, and wearied with paine, not finding any comfort by 
medicine, or the midwife, at last have desired help by the extraction of 
the child by the crochet, the which they have chearfully, and well en- 
dured. Yet, not long after the fetching of the after-burden, they have 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


died; perhaps some, through flouding; others, through weaknes, or 
thinnes of blood, or putrefaction in the womb. 

Yerba Nicolai Fontani. 

Quoedam mulier, ciini sex diebus laborasset, ciimq, ab auxiliis ad- 
hibitis, levamen nullum inveniret, intrepido animo extractionem, ad vitam 
servandam, adhiberi voluit, quod, in re tarn ardua, non negavere medici. 
Quod, vero, mortua sit, ad secundarum extractionem referendum puto. 
Cum enim, ab obstetrice erant extractee, secuta est hsernorrhagia resolutis 
viribus animam efflavit. 

Dubitabis utriim hoc opus tentandum sit in muliere debili. Zacutus 
Lusitanus inquit, Inhumanum est, et medico Hippocratico indignum, 
corpus et si moribundum, citra remedia relinquere, ciim multi, citra spem, 
mirabiliter sanentur. 

This very case happened to a woman, that was a LachVs daughter, 
after six dayes labour. 

Her Doctors said, That shee was scorbuticall, and hydropicall, 
and certified mee, That, in her travaile, shee had avoided abundance of 
water from the womb, and that shee had bled much at the nose, and that 
the blood was very thin. All which I took for evil symptomes. And, 
although she was very easily delivered by the crochet, and was chearfull 
afterwards, nevertheless, after the fetching of the after-burden, it is sup- 
posed, that shee lost blood, and, not long after, died. 

And, although this flouding was not violent, nor very much (of 
which no notice was given to mee by the midwife, or other women) yet 
this unexpected accident did much afflict mee, being the first, and last, 
that happened under my hands August the 17, 1667. 

0, 2 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

Fontanus yet saith, Quod hsec mortua fuerit, diuinse providentise 
ascribendum. And so, I believe, that this misfortune might happen. 

For I might have been with her on Wedensday at night, whilest 
yet shee had strength of spirit, and body, if that her messenger had per- 
formed Iris duty, in comming to mee not far from my house. Tor he 
came to Darby Wedensday, early in the morning, and, seeing that I was 
not at home, without any delay, hee returned to Ins master. 

The next day a second careles messenger was sent forth, with a 
letter, to mee. He also came to my house at Darby, but, finding mee 
not at home, on friday, as hee returned, hee met the first messenger, who 
took the letter, and came to mee on friday at night. And, at his request, 
I travailed all that night, and was sorely afflicted with that journey ; and 
I was very weak by it. It was Saturday, about ten, or eleven of the 
clock, before I came to the house. 

The child was great, and much swel'd, and the body of it had a 
stinking cadaverous sent with it ; and the skin was much flayed off, in 
larg great flakes, in severall places of the body. And I beleeve, That 
the mother's 'body was corrupted through the great putrefaction of the 

All Auctors affirme, That the after-birth is a thing contrary to 
nature, after that the child hath left the womb, which must bee taken 
away, and sent forth. 

For the quick (which is the womb) will thrust forth the dead 
(which is the after-birth) or else the dead will kill the quick. 

I have known severall evil accidents, which have followed the re- 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


taining of the after -birth, as, floudings, sicknesses, and faintings, and, 
sometimes, death. 

A Husbandman's wife at Littleore, nigh Darby, was much dis- 
quieted with the midwife, whilest that shee searched to find the after- 
birth. It was not found, but remained in her body. Shee grew a little 
unruly, and altered in her complexion, which turned blackish. And, 
although it came away, of itself, three, or foure dayes after her delivery, 
yet shee died, about the yeare, 1636. 

Thus died a good woman K. G. The after-birth could not bee 
found, it remained three, or foure dayes in her body before it came away. 
Her understanding decayed, and her countenance much altered before 
her death. 1642. 

I was desired by Mr of Lockington 1654 to visit his 

wife, that was delivered of a son, but the midwife could not produce the 
after-birth ; they hoped, that it would come away of it self. Shee was 
delivered three, or foure dayes before my comming. The same day, that 
I came, an Honourable Lady had sent her the Countesse of Kent's 
powder, the winch shee took, and it helped her, and had driven forth the 
after-burden before my comming. 

I found her altered in her understanding, and her hands coldish ; 
I wrapped them in warm napkins, shee would let them lie a little while 
in the napkins, and then, forgetting her self, shee would put them forth. 
Shee knew not well what she did. H er pulse was weak, and slow in 
motion. My opinion was, That shee would hardly live untill the next 
morning. Shee died about two of the clock the same night, through 
the putrefaction, that the secondine had caused in her body. 

There bee some midwives, that will not fetch the after-burden, but 






Observations in Midwifery, by 

leave the expulsion of it to nature, and their women have don well, and 
they recovered their former health. 

There bee other, that, by their too much searching, and endea- 
vouring to get it, do much mischief in their women's bodies. I like not 
either of their wayes. Let the after-burden (if conveniently it may) bee 
produced by the midwife. Of midwives, if any of them deserve praise, 
let them have it, that doth not struggle too much to fetch the after -birth. 

Dr Harvey's learned observations about the birth ought to bee 
esteemed, for their worth, and goodnes. The oft reading of them, with 
a due observing of his method, will bee sufficient to make a midwife to 
understand her calling. 

Hee sheweth, in the first place, what to observe, and how to deliver 
a woman, labouring in a naturall birth. 

And, in difficult births, and abortive births, and where the foetus 
is dead, hee maketh mention how to perform the work by the child's feet. 
In his workes, hee wisheth midwives, not to bee too busy at the first ap- 
proaching of labour, by striving to hasten, or promote a sudden, or quick 
birth ; but willeth them, patiently to wait on nature, to observe her 
wayes, and not to disquiet her, for that it is the sole, and onely work of 
nature. And this also was the opinion of that worthy, and learned Gen- 
tleman, Dr. Georg Ent, since Knighted. 

My assistance was desired by Mrs. Wolaston in Threed-needle 
street in London, Anno 1657. Shee was a watchmaker's wife by the 
Old Exchang. Erom this woman's body a child was pulled by the mid- 
wife. When the midwife perceived that I was sent for, she resolved to 
hasten her work. Shee caused severall women perforce to hold her by 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


the middle,, whilest that shee, with others, pulled the child by the limbs 
one way, and the women, her body, the other way.' Thus, at the last, 
the child, by violence, was drawn from her, and made at the separation 
(as shee told me) a report, as though a pistoll had been discharged. 

A little while, after this tugging, and strugling usage, I came, and 
found this woman faint, and weak, but through God's mercy, with cor- 
dials shee was restored. Her midwife's enforcements had made such 
deep remembrances in her senses, that she resolved to forsake her ; at 
which time shee pitched her affections on me, making a request unto me, 
if that shee should have any more children, that I would be pleased to 
deliver her. 

I desired her to spare mee, and rather to engage my daughter, the 
which thing shee was contented to do, so that, in her extremity, I would 
not be far from her. 

Being with child afterward, and my daughter with her, when the 
time of her delivery was come, and that the waters issued, a sharp throw 
accompanied the birth, and the child speedily followed the waters. 

Then she began to griev, and complain (not imagining that the 
child was born) and to say, now I shall fall into my old paines, and suf- 
ferings, and perceive, that it will be no better with mee. My daughter, 
smiling, asked her what shee meant, and whether shee had two children, 
for one was born. She scarcely beleeved it, untill that shee heard the 
child to cry. The after-birth being fetched, and shee laid in her bed, 
shee took my daughter by the hand, and said to her, Surely you have art 
in these fingers, otherwise, so quickly, and happily I should not have 
been delivered. 

I know none, but Dr Harvey's directions, and method, the which I 


Observations in Midwifery, by 



wish all midwives to observe, and follow, and oft to read over, and over 
again ; and, in so doing, they will better observe, understand, and re- 
member the sayings, and doings of that most worthy, good, and learned 
Dr, whose memory onght to bee had for ever in great esteem with mid- 
wives, and child-bearing women. 

Of Unnaturall Births. 

All births, comming by the back, belly, buttock, sides, or knees, 
or with head, and neck distorted ; and all unnaturall births whatsoever, 
with all difficult births, bee ever the best, easiest, and safest laid by the 
feet of the infant. It is impossible to lay any unnatural birth by the 
infant's head. 

I was desired by my friend J. T. of Osmaston, near Ashburn, to 
come unto his house, and to deliver a woman, that sojourned with him. 
I found several midwives with this woman. The birth of the child came 
by the back, and by the back they hoped to pull it away doubled. They 
much tormented the woman, and tired themselves with fruitles labours. 
With some trouble I turned the birth, and brought it away by the feet, 
and shee recovered. Anno 1647. 

In my first practice, when necessity enforced me to turn the child, 
comming in an unnaturall birth, I followed Pareus his directions. But 
since I have found out one more pleasing to my desires, and I permit all 
midwives to follow which way they best like. 

I was sent for to Lockington in Leicester-shire in Anno 1660, eight 
miles from Darby, to come to a young Gentlewoman, labouring of her 
first child. The arme came first out. I placed her kneeling on a bolster, 
and put her head down to a pillow, placed in a woman's lap, sitting afore 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


her on a truckle-bed ; and, having my hand anointed with Balsainum 
Hystericum, and kneeling behind her, I gently slid up my hand into her 
body, {not offering to reduce the arm) I presently found a foot, and drew 
it down, holding it between my forefingers. I put a soft fillet, with a 
sliding noose, over the heel, above the ancle, holding it very gently. T 
put up my hand againe along the child's thigh, which brought mee to 
the other foot, over which also I put a fillet. 

Then, raising the woman's head a little up, I drew, by the fillets, 
both legs together, and took, and held them in a soft linen cloth. And, 
when I had leasurely drawn the child past the buttocks, by the feet, I 
then raised the woman somewhat higher. And then, holding the child 
in a soft, linen cloth betweene my hands, I turned the child's face to the 
back of the woman. After this, I drew the child to the shoulders. 
Then I slid up some part of my hand toward the back of the woman, 
and put my middle finger, a little way, into the child's mouth, and placed 
my other two fingers on each side of the child's nose, and caused an 
assisting woman, with a flat hand, to make a gentle pressure on the 
child's head, and to put it off from os pubis, that is, the share-bone. 
Whilest that shee made this pressure, I drew leasurely by the child's 
feet. And thus, through God's great mercy, and permittance, I quickly 
delivered her without having throwes. Immediately, after the child was 
born, I fetched the after-birth. And, thanks bee given to the Almighty, 
both mother, and child (her daughter) were living in the yeare 1669. 

I was sent for the second time again by the said Gentlewoman, 
March the 18 166|. Shee was full of paine, and shee had lost 
much blood. Her bed, and linens about her were very wet with the same. 

The midwife told mee, That shee had felt a foot. I did wonder at 
her sayings, for that the womb seemed not to bee open, and it was very 


Observations in Midivifery, by 

full, after the usuall situation. But, putting my hand more upward 
towards her back, I found Fabricius Hildanus words true, that the womb 
doth not alwayes keep one certain site. 

For the mouth of the womb was inverted, and was turned upwards, 
somewhat towards the back, where I found the foot. 


As shee kneeled, I took the foot between my forefingers, and held 
it in my griped hand. Afterwards, I laid my thumb, bended, over my 
fingers. By this way I held firmly the foot. 

I durst not make a rumbling with my hand in her body, for that, 
at that time, shee was apt to fioud. I used no band, to fasten about the 
heel, neither did I think it necessary to slide up again my hand by the 
child's thigh, to seek for the other foot, for that I hoped, with lesse 
trouble to the woman, better to perform the work, with gentle drawing 
by the foot onely. 

I drew the child gently, and leasurely by this foot, untill I brought 
it to the twist of the body. Then I found the other foot lying upon the 
belly of the child, the which I brought down without strugling, and, by 
the feet, I laid her, after the way set forth in the precedent birth. 

After that the after-birth was fetched away, shee did fioud- no more. 
And all things proceeded well with her, as usually they do with other 

This daughter was born weak, and was afterward baptized, and 
named Matilda ; the other daughter was named Anna. 

The Father and Mother, with the rest of their children, with these 
two daughters, were living, and in health August 23. Anno 1669. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Thus have I set forth Parens his way by ribbands. I have also 
shewed midwives my way, by the child's foot ; which I hold more facile 
and easy, and quicker to bee performed. And I pray God to direct mid- 
wives to chuse the best, and easiest wayes, to help afflicted women in tra- 
vaile, and to save sweet, harmles infants lives. 

I have drawn several children by one foot, untill I could perceive 
where the other foot rested ; and I never found that the drawing gently 
by the foot did hurt the child in the delivery, or cause afterwards any 
deformity or lamenes in the child so born. 

Some learned men, in their treatises concerning the delivery of 
women, have concluded, that the best way, in all unnatural and difficult 
births, is to reduce the birth to the head. 

But, as yet, I cannot bee of their opinions. I must beg their 
pardons, for not pinning my belief upon their writings. Yet I will not 
bee stubborn, in adhering unto my owne practice. I shall leave myself 
and sayings to the judicious practicers in midwifery, to bee censured as it 
shall please them, for that I have spoken, and written experimentally, 
de facto, as it was performed by mee in the travailing woman's chamber, 
and not upon imagined thoughts, or phantasies of others, writing what 
they never performed. 

And, although these writings be not adorned, and beautified with 
learned, and rhetorical! expressions, but bee homely, and plainly set 
forth, for the understanding of the simple capacities, to direct country 
midwives, yet I dare assure them, that they will hold water, and be suf- 
ficient to put by all reproaches, that ignorance would cloud them with, 
the which shall be made manifest by examples. 

I humbly pray, and desire all practicers in midwifery, that know 
better wayes, to bee pleased to set forth, not so much their supposed 
— - 

Not to turn 

the birth to 

the head 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

thoughts, as their experimented directions of wayes, de facto, to God's 
glory, and their countrey's good, for the better easing of women in their 
sufferings, and extremities, and for the saving of poor children's lives, 
giving no cause why they should bee destroyed in their mother's wombs 
by ignorant practice. 

Let it bee granted, and consented by all, without any contradic- 
tion, that midwives could reduce all unnaturall births to the head (the 
which I imagine they can never performe) yet their experience will then 
shew them, 

That every child, comming by the head, must have sharp, ex- 
pulsive throwes, and some convenient time to bring it forth ; the which 
they shall not need as it commeth by the feet. 

When you put up the arme, and place it by the child's side, your 
hand is nigh to the child's feet, and you may bring them down easily, 
without torture. 

Tlie putting up of the arme is oft fruitles (as midwives have done) 
it nothing farthereth the birth, for that it hath oft returned again, and 
hath been more grievous to the woman, then to deliver her by the feet. 

By the feet a woman may safely, and easily bee delivered. And, 
in severall women, where the child's head hath been too great, I have 
turned the head back, and have produced the birth by the feet, of which 
way I have given you severall examples. 

By the feet of the child a woman may be delivered, although shee 
have no labour, or throwes. But, when it commeth by the head, shee 
will not be delivered without great strivings, and sharp throwes ; and 
where the head and body bee too great, shee will not bee delivered, nor 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Great head. 

the child saved, unles the birth bee turned from the head to the feet, 
and afterward to bee, by the feet, produced. 

Grace Beechcraft, the wife of Joseph, in St. Peter's parish in 
Darby, being in labour severall dayes, and having suffered much sorrow, 
desired my help. 

The child came with the head first, but it was great. Her mid- 
wife, with herself, desired my assistance, for that shee could not deliver 

For her condition Divines were consulted, and in their opinions 
they were divided. Severall women frowned upon some of these Divines, 
and, upon the women's dislikes, they turned their coats, and changed 
their opinions. 

I would not use the crochet, for feare the child should bee alive, 
but turned away the head, and brought it forth by the feet, after the 
way afore mentioned. The child was dead, but the woman's life was 
saved, and shee recovered very well after this delivery. 

Few yeares after shee conceived again, whilest that I lived at 
London, and, at this time, in her labour, the arme came first forth. The 
midwife endeavoured, without any good successe, to put it up again. 
Afterward, three midwives came to consult, and to shew their skill, and 
each of them tormented the poor woman. One of them set her on her 
head, and, afterwards, rowed much in her body. After much torturing, 
at last, it was concluded, by them, that it must be pulled from her. 
Some women held this woman by force about the middle, whilest that 
the midwife took hold of the arme, and so, with forcible, and violent 
strength, the child was pulled forth of her body. The arme, by their 

An arm. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

Mrs. Oke- 



Mings, was half pulled off, as I was certified by a good woman, that 
was there present. 

Shee lived, after this harsh usage, a Week, and then died of a 

Shee was buried Sept. 24, 1657. Might not this woman have 
been better laid the second time by the feet ? and so the child and mo- 
ther might have lived. Two of these midwives did formerly see mee lay 
these births by the feet. But midwives will follow their own wayes, 
and will have their own wills. 

Once in Darby, and never afore, or since, I was called to a gentle- 
woman, whose child came by the knees. 

This child was very great in head, breast, and body. The mid- 
wife had drawn it to the navell before my comming, and farther shee 
could not possibly get it. I was then sent for, with some trouble I 
brought it to the neck, where it stuck hard ; yet, at last, she was de- 
livered of it. , 

Through the greatnes of the child, and the straitnes of her body, 
all the skin of the hinder part of the head was stripped off from the 
skull, and lay upon the forehead of the child, when it was born. After 
that I had well viewed the greatnes of the head, I found that the 
bones thereof were firm and hard, and the sutures of the skull of the 
head were much closed. I thought it then wonderfull that the head did 
abide on the shoulders, and that it was not separated from the body, as 
it was drawn from her body by the feet. 

After my usuall way, with my finger in the child's mouth, my 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


work was finished, and shee recovered, Oct. 28, 1665. Here place 
Catherine Davis. 

I was called to Elianor Fletcher, Feb. the ninth, 166f , dwelling 
in St. Michael's parish in Darby. Shee travailed of a daughter, that 
came by the feet, and her midwife had drawn it to the neck, where it 
stuck, and shee had strugled above three hours to get it forth. 

After that the child was dead, and that with much strugling, the 
neck was broken by the midwife, shee feared that the woman would die 
under her hands, and then shee intreated that I might bee sent for. 
At my comming, finding the child dead, and the neck of it broken, I 
put my finger into the child's mouth, and willed the midwife to draw by 
the feet, whilest that I guided the head, in hopes to bring it forth. 
Also I placed her in various postures to facilitate the birth. But, 
through the greatnes of the head, I could do no good. For feare the 
head should bee separated from the body, I was compelled to use the 
crochet, fixing it on the upper part of the head. By it, and by the 
child's feet, with much ado, the head was obtained foil of water, a great 
part thereof was shed in the extraction of it. 

I opened the head afterward, and I found much water in the ven- 
tricles, as also flowing under Dura mater. This watery tumour is 
called, hydrocephalos. I have seen it (after birth) in severall children. 
Their heads bee great, they always lie on their backs. If they bend 
forward, they be in danger to bee stifled, and usually, they live but few 

After that this woman was laid in bed, the midwife said that shee 
fiouded. I steeped hogs dung male, and strained it forth without pres- 

A great 

head, ful of 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

sure, and put some sugar and nutmeg to it, and gave it her to drink, 
and the flux was stopt. 

After her delivery, shee oft fainted, but still was recovered by 
spirting aqua vitse up into her nostrils. Shee was desirous of much 
drink. I gave her afterward, the white, and yolk of an egge mixed in 
a caudle, with nutmeg and sugar. Shee complained of great pain in her 
back, but was freed of it by laying to it Emplastrum Saponis. Ever 
as shee stirred, shee fainted. Therefore I kept her quiet in her cloths all 
the first night, not shifting her untill the next day. 

This woman, after the birth of her first child, had the meazels, 
within three or foure dayes after her delivery. 

After the birth of her second child, shee oft fainted, and was sick, 
but, with giving her cordials, shee seemed to do well. 

Whortle or 

Some three dayes after her delivery, there appeared small arisings 
like hurtles, all over her body, some as big as ordinary pins heads, others 
as great at fitches, the biggest of them were full of white bearing. Upon 
cold taking shee would bee ill, but, wrapping her warme, and putting 
her into gentle breathing sweats, shee recovered her faintings. 

Her husband kept an alehouse, and having but few roomes to 
entertain his guests, her chamber was made a place to receive them. 

Shee seemed to recover, and, by all, shee was thought to bee past 
danger of death, being chearful, and comfortable, for a night and a day. 
And, when danger was lest thought of, the ensuing night being dis- 
quieted with drinking companions, as also being full of these risings, not 
like the small pox, or the meazels, shee died. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


I cannot imagine what way these two latter births could have beene 
turned from the feet to the head, and I beleeve that it would have 
proved an impossible thing to deliver them afterward by the head, with- 
out the crochet, or some such instrument. 

I have seen the same hurtles, little swelhngs in men. I never 
knew any that recovered, that had them, but they all died, as well men 
as women. 

The birth by the buttocks. 

Some women have their children comming to the birth by the 
buttocks, and the child, as it were, sitting in the womb, with the legs 
lying on the belly stretched upwards. 

In this posture the child may be born, but not alwayes easily. 

To reduce it to a better birth, let the midwife cause the travailing 
woman to kneele on a bolster, and, having put her head down into a 
woman's lap, sitting afore her, let the midwife come behind her, and, 
sliding up her annointed hand into her body, remove with the flat of her 
hand, the child's buttocks, pressing them upwards, into the hollownes of 
her body ; and, afterwards, to search for the feet, which shee may easily 
find, and so draw forth the infant by the feet, as hath formerly beev di- 
rected. Thus the child will easily bee born, and the woman soon delivered. 

But where the midwife can have convenient space of place, to put 
up her hand without much strugling or pain to the mother, there shee 
needeth not to put back the child. Without any trouble shee may find 
the child's feet lying on the belly of the child, or stretched upwards. 
And, although this birth hath proved successful to some women, yet, 
through ignorant midwives, it has happened fatall to others, and the wo- 
man, with the child, hath perished. 



Observations in Midwifery, by 








A birth, thus comming of itself by the buttocks, requireth a larg, 
and spacious passage, and, if the child bee small, and little, the woman 
will bee the sooner, and more easier delivered. 

One Mrs. Staynes, a chirurgion's wife, in Darby, was delivered of 
a child, in such a posture, in the yeare 1630, the child comming double, 
sitting with his buttocks in the womb. Shee did very well after her 
delivery, and her child lived. 

An Inne-keeper's wife in Stafford, desired my daughter's assist- 
ance for her delivery. Her labour was quick. The child followed the 
flowing of the waters, sitting in the birth with the buttocks. The birth 
was so speedy, that it would afford no time to turn the child. The 
mother, with the child, lived, and did very well after this birth. 

But one swallow, or two doth not make a summer. 

I shewed this birth of the buttocks, having the arms stretched 
over the head, to a midwife in Darby, 1632. I taught her how to alter 
this posture, and, in doing it, shee had drawn down the armes. Then 
I was again necessitated to help the midwife. Shee was quickly delivered 
of a lusty, spritefull child, by the feet. 

This child (a daughter) did thrive, and became great in half a yeare. 
The nurse did suckle it at foure a clock in the morning. But having 
made her head heavy, by taking her cups of Darby ale largly, and late 
at night, shee overlaid the child, and it was found dead under her by six 
that morning. 

In the yeare 1646 this midwife was called to one Isabel Carter, 
whose child came by the buttocks, but shee had forgotten what I 
shewed her, with all the directions. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


After twelve houres suffering under two midwives, this woman's 
friends perswaded her to send for mee, to assist, and help her, and her 

After I had seen the birth, I asked the midwife, if that, formerly, 
I had not shewed her this birth, and the way how to help it. At last 
shee remembered it, and the birth of the child afore named. 

The child's cods were pressed forth, and did hang out of the wo- 
man's body above an inch and a half, very fiamp and black, and the 
doubled body was fixed in the birth. 

The woman in distres desired mee to help her. After placing her 
kneeling on a bolster, I put her in a bending posture descending. I 
removed the child upwards into the hollownes of her body. I fetched 
the feet down, and, through God's great mercy, and permission, I 
quickly delivered the woman of a living child, by the feet. This wo- 
man, and her husband, with their son, were living in Darby, 1660, and 
hee is a handsome young youth, yet living in Anno 1670. The black- 
nes and bruisings of the cods were cured with oile of egges. 

At Sutton Cofield, in Warwickshire, I delivered a woman. The 
birth came by the buttocks. Her midwife, with others, had made foule, 
and harsh work about the child's breech, by tearing the child's cods, 
and in laying the stones bare, and with the woman, by tearing her body 
deeply into the fundament. 

The child was great, and the skin flayed off in several! places of 
the body. It smelt unsavourily. It was brought away with my hand, 
by the feet, about May, ]651. I saw her again, and talked with her 
several! times after this her harsh usage, and delivery. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

Dr. Harvy saith, That the water is the cause of the delivery of 
the fsetus, which is dead, and putrefied iu the womb. In that, by its 
corruption and acrimony, it doth extimulate the uterus to reliev it self. 

But, if the waters have all flowed, and the womb be left long dry, 
the labour will prove difficult, without the help of the hand, to fetch 
the feet, or the use of the crochet to draw forth the head. 

Celsus saith, Quod melius sit anceps remedium experiri, quam 
nullum, cum multi citra spem mirabiliter sanentur. 

I never felt a more carrion stink then this child's body had, and 
yet the womb was not infected with the putrefaction of the child, and 
shee recovered. 

January 14, Anno 1646, I was desired by a good Lady, to come 
to Sudbury, to help John Primer's wife, that was in extremity of labour, 
and her midwife knew not how to deliver her, and was ignorant in what 
posture the child offered it self. The child came by the breech, but her 
midwife was ignorant of it, and took the breech for the head, and with 
her halings, and struglings, after the issuing of her waters, the womb 
became drie, and the child was very hardly removed again into her body. 

I placed her kneeling, with some trouble, I put back the buttocks, 
and brought down the feet. And, having the assistance of some wo- 
men, gently to pull by the feet, whilest I guided the head, I delivered 

Immediately after that, the after-birth was fetched. Without any 
help shee did arise, and went from that place, no woman offering to 
hold her, and went up a pair of staires into her chamber, and so to bed 
in a cold roome, where was no fire. Shee made no signe of her suffer- 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Through God's permission shee soone recovered. But some 
moneths after, there happened to this woman an impostumation on her 
navel, which, afterwards, suppurated, and, after the breaking, did run 
much. The women of that town would have it, that this corruption 
came from her bowels, and that her guts were rotten, and that they 
would come forth at her navel. But this infirmity shee also recovered, 
and lived several years after. Pareus saith, That impostumes in the 
navel bee dangerous, and that severall perish by them. 

July the seventeenth, Anno 1668, Anne Bonsall of Dunnington, 
in Leicestershire, had an ignorant torturing midwife. Shee came to her 
at foure a clock in the morning. AIL or most part of that day shee 
kept this travailing woman kneeling, or sitting on a woman's lap, ever 
pulling and bruising her body, oft thrusting up her hand into the wo- 
man's body, and her fingers into the child's fundament. 

I had formerly rebuked this midwife for her ignorant doings, and 
for her unadvised cruelties. Shee was a peevish, conceited, ignorant 
midwife, and did not care for my company. Yet I was sent for, and 
came to this afflicted woman about eight a clock at night. I found this 
labouring woman kneeling, and her midwife working ; and, for that 
shee had beene much afflicted, and was weake, and her body swel'd, 
and torn, and discoloured by her haling, and pulling, to dilate the parts, 
I caused her to bee laid on her bed, to give her some intermitting ease, 
for that the birth seemed to bee far off. I gave her spiritus Antidoti 
specificse a spoon full. But such had beene her torturing sufferings, 
that it did not refresh her, yet it caused the child to descend. 

The next morning after that, I placed her kneeling. I put up 
my finger, and it passed very easily into a hollow place of the child's 
body, and I knew not what to think of it. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

But, after a while, I perceived that it was the child's fundament. 
Then I slid up my hand, and quickly delivered the woman by the 
child's feet, observing my usual way of turning the child's face to the 
back of the woman, &c. 

Afterwards, when I had put the woman into a warm bed, I then 
viewed the body of the female infant, and I perceived that this midwife 
had oft thrust her finger into the child's fundament, and, with it bended 
shee hoped that shee might have drawn the body forth. 

The child's fundament was much bruised, discoloured, and dilated, 
and, by her ignorant practice, the child was deprived of life. 

This woman, through her bruises, swellings, and lacerations in 
those parts, fell into a loosness. Some foure or five dayes after shee 
died. And her ignorant, torturing midwife lived not many moneths 

Oft midwives bee much mistaken, supposing the buttocks to bee 
the child's head. 

But, if they would consider, that the buttocks feele soft, and 
have no haires, and that the head is hard, and round in figure, and hath 
haire on it ; then they might, with more understanding, better know 
how to help their suffering women, distressed in this ill posture, by the 
child's feet. 

In Staffordshire, nigh to Newcastle, Anno 1656 my daughter 
quickly laid this birth, according to the foresaid way, by the feet, where, 
otherwise, three old midwives had let the woman perish, taking the but- 
tocks for the head. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


They knew not how to help her, untill shee shewed them the 
way of delivery of this birth, by the child's feet. 

Shee laid a barber's wife in Stafford of such a birth, after the 
same way. Shee, and her child bee living. 

Shee laid the same birth of the buttocks by the feet in Shoe lane, 
at London, where an ancient midwife knew not how to do it. I was 
sent for to this woman, and, finding the birth to come by the buttocks, 
I sent for my daughter, and willed her to go to the woman, and to give 
mee an account of the birth, sitting all the while with Mrs. Joanna 

She came from the travailing woman to us, and said, that the 
birth came by the buttocks, the which the old midwife took for the 
head. Before Mrs. Mullins the wife of old Mr. Edward Mullins, the 
chirurgion, I asked her, what hopes shee had of laying this woman. 
Shee answered, that shee doubted not, but that, through God's assist- 
ance, shee could quickly deliver her. So with the former old midwife's 
permission, the work was soon performed by the feet. 

In Middlesex anno 1658 my daughter, with my assistance, de- 
livered Sir Tenebs Evanks Lady of a living daughter. 

All the morning my daughter was much troubled, and told mee, 
That shee feared that the birth would come by the buttocks, and that 
shee foresaw the same by the falling down of her belly. 

About seven a clock that night labour approached. At my 
daughter's request, unknown to the Lady, I crept into the chamber 
upon my hands and knees, and returned, and it was not perceived by 
the Lady. My daughter followed mee, and I, being deceived, through 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

hast to go away, said that it was the head, but shee affirmed the con- 
trary, however, if it should prove the buttocks, that shee knew how to 
deliver her. 

Her husband's greatness, and oliverian power, with some rash 
expressions, that hee uttered, flowing too unhandsomely from his mouth, 
dismayed my daughter. Shee could not be quieted, untill I crept pri- 
vately again the second time into the chamber, and then I found her 
words true. 

I willed her to bring down a foot, the which shee soon did. But 
being much disquieted with feare of ensuing danger, shee prayed mee to 
carry on the rest of the work. 

The Lady was safely laid of a living daughter by the feet. The 
child cried strongly, and loudly, and was spriteful, and very lively. 

Had this birth come by the head, I beleev, that it would have 
proved difficult, and more troublesome to the Lady, not without some 
disgracefull reflection upon mee, and my daughter. 

For the child's head, with the breast, was great. It would have 
slid very difficultly through the bones, and so the midwife could not 
have helped more, then by annointing the body, and with patience, 
waiting, and expecting, when that nature's force, with the throwes, 
would have driven forth the child. 

But, when the birth commeth by the feet, the woman may bee laid 
without throwes, as hath formerly been said, and shewed by severall 

For six. dayes this child was not suffered to suck, and, in the 
meane time, was unfittingly nourished. The seventh day (and not 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


afore) a nurse endeavoured to give it the breast, but the child had for- 
gotten how to suck, and then it began to bee sick. The eight day the 
red gumme appeared, and, for want of better care, died about the tenth 

I will never think otherwise, but that, in this Knight's thoughts, 
as well as in his actions, and wayes, errours, defects, and mistakes 
might apparently bee seen. 

It is not impossible to find, in London, or Westminster, honest 
women, and healthfull nurses, free from unhandsome diseases. Had the 
child had such a nurse, that, in- due time, might have given it the breast, 
I beleeve that the child might long have lived. For there was no pro- 
bable signe indicating the child's death, or any weatnes perceived in it, 
untill the two last dayes. 

When I moved him earnestly to get a nurse, hee replied, and 
said, That hee scorned, that his child should suck any pocky nurse in, 
or about London. Hee well knew many unworthy women in that, and 
other places. And was hee free of the Lues venerea when hee died? 

Hee loved variety of places, and several! pastures. Hee reported 
in Darby (to disgrace me) that I would not come near to help his wife, 
before that hee had given mee an hundred pieces. Hee was never so 
worthy, as to give, or offer mee the worth of a peny. And, if ever it 
bee found out, what his true name was, and where hee lived, and died, let 
this postscript affirme, That hee would not let mee see his wife after her 
delivery. And, although I came severall times, yet hee did not afford 
mee so much civility as to offer mee a cap of ale, or beer, or that ever hee 
did give mee the wOrth of a brasse farthing for my oft visiting her afore 
her delivery ; or for my being with her in her labour, and helping of 
her; or for my severall visits after her delivery. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

The birth by the knees. 

Mrs. Jane Molineux, the wife of Rutland Molineux, Esq., dwelling 
in Nottinghain-shire, at Woodcoats, came to Darby, and requested that 
I would bee pleased to deliver her, and shee hoped, through God's mercy, 
by my assistance, to have a live child born into the world. I received 
her into my house, where shee told mee of her sorrowfull sufferings, and 

That first shee had an abortion, a yeare after shee conceived again, 
and, going out her full time, and falling into travaile, the child's knees 
came first. Her midwife would bring down the armes, that were over 
the child's head, and did break an arme in the drawing of it. Afterward 
shee suffered the womb to close about the child's neck. So the child 
continued hanging by the neck in the womb, and sprauling with the feet, 
till it was dead. And, although a Dr. of Physick was with her, and 
held her all the time of her travaile by the hand, yet the infant's life was 
not saved. 

Thus, at severall times, and in severall births by the knees, 
through severall midwives, shee lost also the second, and the third, and, 
afterward, the fourth child, all hanged by the neck of the womb, and so 
died in the birth, not one of them being born alive ; all of them being 
goodly children, and comming at their full time of birth by the knees. 

Shee continued foure weeks, and odde dayes, in my house, before 
shee travailed. During which time, every morning, and evening, shee 
annointed herself before a warm fire, with Balsamum Hystericum. And 
for three weeks together, I gave her, every morning, a spoonfull, or two 
of oile of sweet almonds, in three spoonefulls of posset drink, in which 
pelitary of the wall was steeped, to drink. 

February the fourteenth, shee suffered some grumbling paines. 
The day following (February the fifteenth, being shrove-munday) pangs 
of labour came on her. And, although shee had a naturall stoole be- 
fore her travaile, yet I gave her a clyster of some six ounces of posset 
drink, boiled with seeds, with which was mixed an ounce of venice tur- 
pentine, first washed with plantane water, and dissolved with the yolk of 
an egge, to which was added one spoonfull of sugar, and some oile of 
almonds. But shee kept it not long, for the birth did much approach. 

I took great care not to break the waters, and hoped, that the 
head had come first. But, when the waters issued, T perceived that the 
birth came by the knees doubled, after the way of her old accustomed 
births. Yet I was not disquieted with the thoughts of her former 
losses, but I trusted on God's mercy, and in his usuall blessings. 

I drew the child gently, and leasurely by the feet, a little past 
the buttocks, unto the navell. I then turned the face of the child to 
the back of the mother, holding the infant's body in a soft, linen cloth, 
between my hands, and so brought it to the shoulders. And, after I 
had placed some part of my hand over the child's face, and had put my 
middle finger a little way into the child's mouth, to presse the chin down 
into the throat, I then caused a woman to lay a flat hand on the child's 
head, and gave the legs into my daughter's hands, willing her gently to 
draw by them, and the woman, with her flat hand, at that instant to 
presse her belly from the os pubis, and the child's head, to the birth 
place, whilest that I kept the womb from closing about the child's neck, 
with my hand. Thus were our desires, through God's mercy, quickly 
obtained, and shee soon delivered of a living daughter. 

After her delivery, as shee lay on her back upon the pallet- 
bed, I could not well come to her body to fetch the after-burden. 

t 2 " 


Observations in Midwifery, by 




Wherefore I caused her to turn, and to kneele, then I easily 
fetched it. 

Thus, I thank God, with this threefold united force, shee was 
speedily delivered, and her daughter was baptized,- and named Mary. 

Shee had no throwes to bring the child into the world, nor had 
shee any pain, or trouble to complain of, more than usuall, to bring 
forth the infant, although the child was larg, and big in body. 

Over much joy, the day following, for that shee had a living child, 
with her tender care premised for the preserving of the same, ever peep- 
ing, and hearkening how it did, put her into some disquiets of the 
mother, with paines in her flank. 

But shee was soon eased of them, by having a plaister of Galba- 
num laid to her navell, and Emplastrum Saponis to her flank; as also, 
with giving her a lump of LucateUVs balsam, wrapped in a wafer, to 
swallow, and, upon that, a good spoonfull of syrup of maidenhaire, with 
as much oile of sweet almonds, and mixed with four spoonfulls of thin 
broth, with these applications, and medicine shee was eased, and cured 
from all the dangers of her child-bed. Shee returned with her daughter 
to her house, in April twenty seventh, 1661. 

I laid her the second time of a living daughter Apr. 24, 1665. 
This birth came by the head, and shee named her Dorothy. 

After the death of Mr. Rutland Molineux, Mrs. Jane Molineux 
was married to Mr. Thomas Wildbore, and, by him, had a son July the 
twentieth day 1667. Shee named him Thomas. This child scrabled 
with his fingers at the mouth of the womb, before it opened. But, be- 
fore the flowing of the waters, it turned, and pitched on the head, when 
the moistures issued ; and shee was soon, afterward, delivered. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Mrs. Jane Wildbore came again the fourth time November the 
tenth 1669 to Darby for her delivery. Shee sent a messenger to mee 
to Newbrough, where I was engaged to a worthy good Lady, who per- 
mitted mee the favour to go, and speak with her, and so, if shee had 
not present need, to return again. 

I advised her the best I could, and stayed with her foure dayes. 
I desired her, in my absence, to have a midwife with her, but not to 
suffer the midwife to meddle with her, but to keep her bed ; and, if the 
child came of itself, to cause the midwife to take it from her. 

I desired her, when shee had any signes of labour, immediately to 
send for mee. Shee promised, for that occasion, to have a good horse 
ready in the stable, and to send such a messenger as did well know the 
way over the Forrest ofNeedwood. And shee said, that shee should go 
a fortnight longer. But shee kept not her promise either in horse 
or man. 

Three dayes after (Saturday Nov. the twenty sixt in the night) 
shee fell into labour. Her messenger came to mee on Sunday morning, 
about half an houre past nine. My good Lady gave mee leave to go 
unto her. I speedily went with him. Hee was ignorant of the way. 
In the forrest wee were both lost, and separated. I wandered alone 
nigh two houres, and came nigh again to Newbrough, and was necessi- 
tated to procure a guide. Afterward, nigh to the forrest- gate, her 
messenger, and I did casually meet againe. Her messenger's horse 
tired after an houre's riding together. 1 was forced to go alone. 

I put on, and rid very fast • About three miles and an half I espied 
two men, riding, with speed, from Darby. They proved to bee her mes- 
sengers, and, from her, they intreated mee to make hast, for that shee 


Observations in Midwifery, by 


was in great extremity. I willed them to put on, and so, with them, I 
came a galloping pace to Darby. So soon as these messengers were 
horsed, and gone, this midwife would not stay my coming ; but got her 
out of her bed, and, having put her to her knees, shee laid her coats on 
her hips, and shee never covered her birth-place, buttocks, or her 
thighes ; and, with her rude, foolish doings, starved her body with cold, 
which made the delivery most difficult. And shee hoped to have gotten 
much credit by delivering before I came. 

The birth was by the feet. Shee took hold by a foot, and vio- 
lently endeavoured to pull away the infant by the foot. 

Mrs. Wildbore, feeling her harsh doings, wished her to desist, 
and told her, That I willed that the midwife should not meddle with 
her, untill that I should come in unto her. 

And shee assured her, that shee could better endure her paines, 
than her tortures, that shee put her to. 

The women intreated the midwife to desist, and assured her that 
it was my command, That no midwife should trouble her at all in my 
absence, more than to receive the child, if that it came naturally of 

Yet, for all their sayings and perswasions, this self-conceited, 
unworthy, ignorant midwife (for whom I had done several! kindnesses) 
would not desist, but, by the feet, with violence, drew the child unto 
the navell, where it stuck, and farther shee could no wayes get it for a 
long time. 

And, had not one of the company given the midwife good advice, 
shee might well have broken the child's neck, and separated the child's 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


head from the infant's shoulders, by keeping the child's face towards the 
woman's navell, and belly. 

The midwife continued this forcible pulling the infant, by the 
feet, three quarters of an houre, or longer. And, finding her strength 
not sufficient to remove it, shee desired another woman to help her to 
pull it by one leg, whilest that shee haled by the other. But both their 
strengths could not remove it, to bring it forwards. 

At length, this assisting woman desisted, and shee told the mid- 
wife, that shee durst pull no more, for that shee feared the child would 
bee torne in pieces by them. 

Mrs. Wildbore intreated the midwife to desist, for that shee was 
not able to endure her violent struglings, saying, would shee teare her, 
and her child to pieces ? And this midwife's halings were continued 
with such violence, that the sweat ran down her face in great drops. 

Nevertheles the midwife continued on her violent struglings, and, 
being a strong woman, at last, perforce, shee pulled the child away, and 
laid it carelesly aside, supposing the child (as shee had cause) to bee 

But, by others, the child was found to bee alive, and, by good 
hap, the infant had one arme stretched out over its head, which preser- 
ved its life, and the not separating the head from the body. 

The child was not quite swadled, when I came into the chamber. 
Mrs. Wildbore told mee how shee had been used by the midwife ; that 
shee had made her very sore, and, for any thing shee knew to the con- 
trary, had torn her. And that shee much wondered, that her child's 
head was not pulled off, and left behind, remaining in her body. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

The weak child was forthwith baptized, and named Baptista. 
After this, I went to my house, and said little to the mother, or mid- 
wife that night. 

But the next morning I told Mrs. Wildbore, that shee had 
suffered through her own follies. 

Shee said, that shee could not help it, for the midwife would do it, 
contrary to her desire. 

To the midwife I said, that her harsh, and unhandsome usage of 
this woman, and her child, would empair her credit. And that her 
ignorance had wronged both mother, and child ; and shewed her how 
shee had made deep prints all about the breast, shoulders, and neck of 
the child, by the scratchings with her nailes, and that it was a wonder 
that the child was born alive with such usage, and that it would bee a 
greater, if that it lived. 

Had Mrs Wildbore observed my command, and this midwife 
desisted from her ignorant doings, when shee was desired to forbeare, I 
then might have been there soon enough to have delivered her, as may 
bee observed in these writings. 

I have come to several! women, after a whole daye's labour, or 
more dayes, and have found some of the members of the child to have 
been long in the world, yet I have safely delivered the woman. And, 
where the midwife had not been too busy, there I have preserved the 
child, with the Mother. 

A week, or more, after her delivery, shee had a swelling, with a 
numnes in her right leg, from her gartering place, to her ankle. And 
the child was swel'd in the right arme, and was weake in the wrist ■ 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


and could not hold up thejiand, but that it hung flagging 

I came to them again the third time, and, T thank God, I cured 
them of their infirmities, staying with them five dayes. 

The child could not suck at the first, but made pityfull faces, 
when it endeavoured to suck, and cried weakly. I eased it, by giving it 
oile of sweet almonds fresh drawn, and mixed with syrup of maiden- 

To the child's back I applied emplastrum de smegmate spread 
thin on leather. 

After this the child did suck much better, yet weakly. It was 
found, afterward, to bee tongue tied. When it was cut, it drew the 
breast much better, and gathered some small strength. 

The child after three weeks, had a dayly purging, issuing from the 
nose, of bloud with corruption. It cried much. It may long live, but 
I feare the contrary. 

This midwife was but of few years practice, and, being told, after- 
ward, of her doings by Mrs. Wildbore, shee foolishly replied, That if 
shee and the child had been torn in pieces, they two had not been the 
first, that had been so used. Her answer shewed her disposition. 

I leave her to the censure of all women. But this midwife shall 
never see more of my practice, or bee in place, where I have ought to do. 

But Mrs. Wildbore's opinion, and saying of this midwife, with 
foure others, that shee had made use of, with the losse of her children 




Observations in Midwifery, by 

By both 

hands and 


That they were all ignorant creatures, and that they knew not 
what to do in any difficult, and unnaturall birth, more than to hale and 
pull the woman's body, and the child by the limbs. And that shee, 
with her children, through their ignorances, had wofolly, and sorowfully 

Shee her self went well from Darby, carrying her weak child 
with her. 

God blesse them both, and, for some causes, I pray, that I may 
never bee troubled more with her, or, rather, with her husband, fitly 
named Wildbore. Finis. 

And this is a true relation of this savage narration. 

In November 1671 I heard, by a messenger, that was at her 
home, that shee is well, and that her child hath perfectly recovered her 
infirmities, and that it is hearty, and health full. 

The birth comming by both hands and feet. 

Sometimes the child thrusts forth both hands and feet together. 

This birth happened to one goodwife Picraft in Darby, 1660. 
After that the midwife had tortured her severall nights and dayes, at 
the last I was sent for. And the midwife said that shee had done what 
shee could for keeping up the hands and feet. I wished her more un- 
derstanding in her practice, and, before her, I laid this woman, by 
joining both feet together, and then drawing leasurely by them, (and 
the hands returned to the sides) observing the order, and way by the 
birth of the feet, &c. 

Shee was quickly delivered without any torture, or violence, in a 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


short time. As the legs came downwards : so the shoulders with the 
armes, went upwards, and reduced themselves. In May 1660. 

The same midwife was sent for to Spoondon, about two yeares 
after this delivery, by Edward Holerentius his wife. The birth came by 
one hand, and one foot. 

This midwife, at her comming, vaunted much of her fenowledg, 
and abilities in the practice of midwifery, and what shee could do. But 
her words proved windy, and her deeds, nothing worth. 

After her much afflicting the woman, her friends were displeased 
with her ignorance, and they sent for mee. I came to her, and, as afore 
in PicrafVs wife, with little ado, I laid this poore woman, and I suffered 
this foolish prating midwife to stand by mee the same time, and to see 
what way I did take the second time. 

This woman conceived again about two yeares after this time. I 
was desired again by her midwife, and neighbours, with her consent to 
come unto her. 

Her midwife, and friends assured mee, that, long since, her waters 
had issued, yet no child followed. 

But it proved otherwise. That night I provoked a stoole by a 
suppositer, and willed her to rest quiet, and to keep her self warm, and 
to endeavour to sleep. 

In the morning I returned home to my house, and sent her a 
clyster, which freed the passages of excrements. And, not long after 
the discharg of it, paines, with throwes, came upon her. Then the 
waters gathered, and flowed, and the child followed the waters, putting her 
to no more affliction, than such, as usually accompany the woman's bed. 
_^ _ 

One hand 
and foot. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

I was again with her at the tliird birth, and then shee Was easily 
delivered by the child's head. 


birth un- 
by the feet. 

The birth by the feet may prove unfortunate, if not prudently 

There was an ancient midwife, that I respected, and wished well. 
For several! causes, I did her all the courtesies that I could. I shewed 
her much, and helped her several! times, yet could I never prevaile with 
her to leave her haling, and stretching those tender parts. But shee 
would ever put on too forcibly, not much regarding the woman, or 
child, to finish her work. 

Shee was midwife to a good Gentlewoman, about 1652. The 
child came by the feet. For want of judgment, how to order the birth, 
shee drew forcibly by the feet. So shee brake the child's neck in the 
birth, and pulled away the body, but left the head remaining in the 
woman's body, which, afterwards, came away. And this good woman 
recovered, and is now living Anno 1671. 

But her poor, old midwife, that had oft, formerly, laid her of 
severall children, was sorely dismayed with this sad unexpected accident, 
which never had afore happened under her hands. So that shee was 
alwayes condoling her misfortune, and never again was chearfull to reco- 
ver her spirits. Her frequent sad remembrance of it, in few succedent 
moneths, finished her dayes. 

The same accident happened to a poor, wandring woman at 
Bisly. I was sent to her by the Lady Willughby, dwelling at that 
place. The child's head was not easily fetcht forth. 

This wandering woman lived severall yeares after. But her 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


companion, and wandering midwife hasted away, unwilling to own her 
work, and I could never heare what became of her. 

The same misfortune happened in Wocestershire to a good 
woman Apr. 12, 1651. 

I shall use Pareus his words, and leave you his directions, how to 
help this affliction. 

But if, by any meanes, it happeneth, and that the child's head 
onely remaineth behind in the womb, which I have sometimes (against 
my will, and with great sorrow) seen. Then the left hand being anointed 
with oile of lillies, or fresh butter, must bee put into the womb, where- 
with the chirurgion must find out the child's mouth, putting his finger 
into it. Then, with his right hand, hee must lift up the hook (according 
to the directions of the left hand) gently, and by little, and little, and so 
fasten it. He must therewith draw out the head by little, and little, for 
feare of losing, or breaking the part, whereon hee hath hold, either in 
the mouth, eye, or chin. But, if possible, it is better to fix the crochet 
in the hinder part of the head. 

Also, in stead of the hook, hee commendeth the use of the Grif- 
fon's talen. 

Of these two, I better like, and had rather use the crochet, and 
more better than either of these, the use of the hand. 

Pareus saith, That it is not an easy thing to take hold on the 
head, when it remaineth alone in the womb, by reason of the roundnes 
thereof. Por it will slip, and slide up, and down, unles the belly bee 
pressed down on both sides, thereby to hold it unto the instrument, that 
it may, with facility, take hold thereon. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

To pre- 
vent the 
off the 


And I hold this note of Pareus excellent, for the pressing down 
the belly on both sides, to hold it down the better, whilest that the 
instrument is in fixing. And, if any chirurgion should bee called to 
such a sad occasion, I would hee could remember this note, and use it, 
as directed. 

To prevent the separating of the head from the child's shoulders, 
I co aid wish midwives to try first what might bee done, by turning the 
child's face to the back of the woman ; and, afterward, by putting the 
middle finger into the child's mouth, to presse down the chin into the 
throat, with their other fingers, placed on the child's face, before they 
offer to draw by the feet ; and to cause some other assisting woman to 
make a pressure on the child's head, to drive it forth. 

But, when the child is dead, and that the chirurgion perceiveth the 
child's neck to bee cracked, or broken, and that it will, in probability, sepa- 
rate from the shoulders with drawing, whilest that the child's head is fixed 
to the shoulders, I would have him slide up his left hand anointed, and 
to place it over the child's head, and, in the hollow of Ins hand, to con- 
vey up the crochet, and to fix it on the child's head as high, as may bee. 
And, having then taken forth the left hand, to put up the right hand 
against the point of the instrument, when it is fixed, and then to draw 
with the hook, whilest that some other assisting woman draweth lea- 
surely by the feet. And thus, I beleeve that a great head may bee drawn 
forth, and not separated from the body, with much more ease to the 
woman and chirurgion, then it can bee, if once it bee separated from the 
body. See Elianor Fletcher. 

Although I know the crochet to bee usefull, for the releeving of a 
weake woman in travaile, and for the drawing forth of a dead, and 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


corrupted child, yet I would not use it, if sudden danger doth not enforce 
mee to reliev the woman. 

For, as I have said, where too great straitnes, and narrownes of 
the woman's body, or the evil positions of the bones have not hindered, 
or withstood my endeavours, for the turning away the head, and pro- 
ducing the birth by the feet, that there, oft, with lesser trouble to the 
women, and to myself, I have happily delivered several women by the 
child's feet. 

But, if high, and lofty conceited midwives, that will leave nothing 
unattempted, to save their credits, and to cloak their ignorances, let mee 
advice such women to learn how to make use of the crochet, rather than 
pothooks, packneedles, silver spoones, thatcher's hooks, and knives, to 
shew their imagined skils. I have known the midwives, and the places, 
where they have used these follies to their women. 

And I intreat all midwives, to put of such operations to the very 
last refuge, untill it is very manifest, that the child is dead, and not to 
make too sudden hast to use the crochet. 

Or rather, to put this work to expert chirurgions, or others (if 
they may bee had) which have used, and practiced such operations, to 
deliver women by the crochet. 

For Fabritius Hildanus saith, That alwayes some new thing hap- 
peneth in the extraction of a dead foetus, either in the posture of the 
child in the womb, or in the genitall parts of the mother. 

This operation will bee better learned, and understood, by seing 
it performed by a rational! practicer, than by discourse, or reading 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

But, if midwives, or any other never afore used to practice in 
these waves, will take upon them a conceited boldnes, to try their sup- 
posed skill; 

Let them first place the woman kneeling on a bed-side, or, rather, 
on a bolster. And, afterward, with much care, and gentlenes, slide up 
the left hand, well anointed, as high as may bee, over the dead child's 

Afterward, in the hollownes of the hand, to convey up the cro- 
chet, keeping the point toward the palm of the hand in putting it up, 
laying the instrument flattish in the hand. 

This being done (holding her hand over the head) to turn the 
point of the instrument toward the child's head under her hand. Then 
to fix it, as high as may bee, towards the hinder part, or on the side of 
the head. 

The instrument being fixed, to take out her left hand, and to slide 
up her right hand, opposite to the point of the crochet. Then, after- 
ward, to raise the woman to a leaning posture. So, with the hand, on 
one side, holding the child's head steady, and with the instrument, on 
the other side, to draw gently. 

If the skull teare, and the hold faile to bring forth the head, let 
her receiv the point of the instrument with easy and leasurely drawing, 
upon the palm of her hand. Thus doing, shee neither hurteth the 
mother, or her hand, with the receiving of the instrument. 

Then let her fix it again on the other side, first putting up her 
right hand at the second fixing of the instrument. And, in fixing, alwayes 
remember to bee carefull, that when or wheresoever shee fixeth the 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


instrument, that shee keepeth her open hand hollowish, between the 
woman's body, and the child's head, whilest that shee fixeth the crochet. 

Thus doing, the midwife will not hurt the woman's body, or her 
own hand, neither will shee bee deprived of her expectation. 

January the 12 1661 I was called to Ticknall in Darbyshire, to 
one Kisedaile's wife. Finding that the child did stink, and was much 
swelled, I placed her kneeling on a hard bolster, and, putting down 
her head to a pillow, that was laid on a woman's lap, sitting afore her, 
and causing her to straddle as wide as shee could conveniently, I 
placed my self behind the woman, and put up my hand over the child's 
head, and, in the hollownes of my hand, I slipped up the crochet, 
laying it flat to my hand. 

Afterward I turned the point of it to the child's head, and 
fixed it. Then I drew forth my left hand, and put up my right hand 
on the other side, between the child's head, and the woman's body, just 
against the point of the instrument, and on the other side, with my 
instrument, 1 drew leasurely. And, thanks bee to God, I quickly 
brought forth the dead, stinking child. I immediately fetched away 
the after-birth, and so put her to bed. And this woman lived, and 
recovered her health, and hard sufferings, and had children afterwards. 

The midwife had kept this woman foure dayes in extremity, and 
and had oft endeavoured to pull it forth with packneedles, thrust through 
the skin of the child's head, in hopes to draw the child forth by these 
packthreeds, but the skin was rotten, and quickly torn, and her hopes 
frustrated to help her, and to save tins woman's life. At the last I was 
sent for. 

The labouring woman may bee placed sitting on a woman's lap, 

A dead 

by the 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

when the child is much descended. Or you may cause her to kneele on 
a bedside, leaning on the neck of other women. I have used all these 
wayes with good successe. 

But, I suppose, that shee may bee more easily delivered kneeling 
on a bolster, for the better fixing of the instrument, or, if you would, for 
the getting of the feet. 

The use of the bolster is great to facilitate this work. Tor, 
through the woman's high kneeling, and the low placing of her head, 
much advantage will bee procured to reenforce the child to return, in 
part, back into the hollownes of the woman's body. 

So you may have the larger roome to turn, and to move your 
hand, to fetch the feet, or to fix the instrument. The which will not bee 
so conveniently done, whilest that her body is placed above your hand, 
as shee lyeth crosse the bed, the which will keep you at a distance, and 
remote from your work. 

In a difficult birth, when that you have drawn forth the head, if 
that the rest of the body will not bee brought forth easily, slide up your 
finger under the child's armpit, and give it a nudge toward tlie other 
side from you, drawing with your finger. But, if it will not bee so per- 
formed, then fix your instrument under the child's armpit, in the 
hollownes of the breast, and so you may draw forth the shoulders with 
the rest of the body. Or, you may draw by the head, wrapped in a linen 
cloth. Or, you may put a strong fillet, with a sliding noose, about the 
neck, and get some woman to help you to draw by it, as you do by the 
head of the child. 

The extraction of a dead child is the best, and safest way. to save 
a weak woman in extremity, and to preserve her life. For Guillimeau 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


saith, That, whensoever the child's head is much entered within the os 
pubis, it is impossible to thrust him upward to turn him, without much 
endangering the mother, and causing great contusion in the womb, from 
whence proceed diverse accidents, and sometimes death with them. 

This my Ticknall midwife, some two yeares after, endeavoured, in 
the same towne, to deliver a potter's wife by quartering the skull with a 
knife, and taking forth the braines, yet shee could not bring forth the 
child. But shee much hurted the woman. Her ignorance, with the 
woman's afflictions, stopt her for proceeding any farther. So her hus- 
band came to mee. I went to her with him. I sent for the midwife, 
and drew the child with the crochet, as shee stood by mee. 

The child was great, and smelt, and did stink; the skin, in severall 
places, much flayed off. I modestly rebuked the midwife's doings, and 
so I lost the good will of this midwife, and, as much as might bee, her 
future practice. 

This poore woman died the next day, I beleeve, through the hurts, 
that shee received from her midwife's knife. 

The woman's body smelt unsavoury in the time of her delivery. 

-• .ft 
At Spoondon in Darbyshire another midwife used the same prac- 
tice, for cutting the child's head, and pulling out the braines. 

In her sufferings I was sent for, but this midwife had finished her 
work before I came. 

And her woman died the next day after her delivery. 

My Ticknall midwife Apr. 17 1666 kept Catherine, the wife of 
Joseph Clark, six dayes in labour. Shee was a great haler, and stretcher 

v~2 ~ 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

of women's bodies, and, through her ignorance, much injured all her 
women, to whom shee came. But since, shee is dead. 

When shee heard that her husband was gone to fetch mee to his 
wife, whether shee feared a second rebuke I know not ; but then shee 
bestirred her self, and, with the help of another woman, the work was 
done, whilest that I was comming ; and shee sent speedily another mes- 
senger to stop my journey, and to turn me back. 

And, although I offered to have gone through the journey to see 
his wife, yet it was thought needles. I then desired her husband to see 
his dead child, and to let mee have the true report, how, by the midwife, 
it was used. But the midwife told him, Hee could not see it, for that it 
was wound up, and stuck with rosemary, and baies. His wife died that 

I leave the reader to think what hee, or shee pleaseth of this 
woman, and how the child was used. 

I could heartily wish, That all midwives would bee friendly, and 
courteous to their afflicted women, that they would not bee drawn aside 
with vain conceits, nor too much adhere to their own opinions, nor to 
shew themselves stubborn against such, as should direct them better 
waves to follow. For my own part, I was ever willing to learn of any 
one, and ever was thankfull to any one, that did shew mee any thing of 

IVot far from Ashburn there was a poor creature, that was willing 
to suffer any affliction to bee delivered. After much pulling, and stretch- 
ing her body, her conceited midwife's last refuge was, not to roll her on 
the bed, but to tosse her in a blanket, as some have served dogs, hoping 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


that this violent motion would force the child out of her body. But her 
conceits failing, I was sent for, and the midwife, and women told mee, 
That they had tossed her in a blanket, but that it did no good. 

But I beleeved, that all their strengths, and forces were not able 
to do it, but rather, That they moved her body violently, by shaking, and 
rolling her in the blanket. And I durst not rind fault with any thing, 
that this waspish company had done, in thus using this poor distressed 

I found that the child came by the head. I endeavoured to force 
the birth by medicines. But, when nothing prevailed, as shee kneeled, I 
drew away the dead child with the crochet. 

Shee recovered ; it was much to bee wondered, that this tossing 
affliction had not set her body in a loosnes. 

It may so happen, That the chirurgion cannot alwayes draw forth 
the child's head with the crochet, when that the skull is separated, and 
the skin very rotten, and so it cannot keep any hold. 

In this case lay aside the instrument, and, with your fingers, put 
into the wound made by the crochet, and your thumb placed outwardly 
over the skin, and the bones of the head joined together, draw leasurely. 
It so may follow by this way, that you may draw forth the rotten body, 
holding the bones, and skin together between your thumb, and fingers. 
But, if this way also faileth, then again fix your instrument in some part 
of the neck towards the head, or about the upper part of the shoulder, 
or breast. 

Sever all honest women, chiefly in the time of their first bringing 
forth of children, have sadly suffered by ignorant, robustious midwives, 
in putting them to kneele, or to sit on their stooles, or woman's laps, 







Observations in Midwifery, by 

before the womb hath beene opened, or any waters have gathered, with 
their hinder parts naked, and starved with cold, and, by their halings, 
npon every sleight pain stretching those tender places, have made their 
women sore, and swel'd which ignorant usage of theirs hath done much 
hurt, not onely by hindering the' birth, but also endangering the life of 
the mother and child. And in severall places, unto which I have beene 
sent for, I have found the mother undelivered, and shee and the child 
dead before I could come unto them, through the ignorance of such 

I travailed all night to Chesterfield, and was greatly pelted (after 
some three houres riding) with Hashes of fire, dreadful thunderclaps, and 
stormes of rain. I came to the place about foure in the morning, and 
there I found both mother, and child dead, and shee not delivered. 
This woman might have been easily helped, had I been there in con- 
venient time Anno 1631 by drawing the child with the crochet, if that 
she could not otherwayes have been relieved. 

I was sent for from Stafford, to come to a lady beyond Congerton. 
Her midwife had kept her severall dayes in labour. I took my daughter 
with mee. Wee travailed all night, and wee were wetted with much rain 
to our skins. Wee came, by break of day, to the place. But this 
Lady was dead, undelivered, before our coming. I much desired to see 
her corps, but the midwife would not permit it. I knew this midwife 
not to bee very judicious in her profession, and I beleeve, That shee was 
ashamed that her work should be seen Anno 1655. . This midwife was 
gentile in habit of cloths, but ignorant in the wayes of practice of 

I was brought to Cossall, in Nottinghamshire, to a woman, whose 
mother was a midwife, and in the house with her. So soone as paines 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


came upon her, before the opening of the womb, or the gathering of the 
waters, shee endeavoured to deliver her daughter. After much suffering 
I was desired to help her. Perceiving her mother ignorant, I put her to 
bed, willing her to lie quiet, and, if shee could, to sleep. Being thus 
strengthened, and refreshed, when true labour approached, nature 
opened the womb, and shee was soon after delivered of a living daughter. 

A kinswoman, being with child, and having a good opinion of a 
lusty, strong bodied midwife, brought her many miles with her, and 
kept her in her house, for that shee should bee at hand to assist her in 
her travaile. 

When this woman's labour approached, the midwife, placing her- 
self behind her, mightily bestirred her, with haling, to stretch the birth 
place, as shee kneeled. And, thrusting her fingers into her body, by 
main strength, shee oft lifted her from her knees, whereby shee made a 
great breach from the birth, into the fundament, before shee was de- 

After that shee was recovered of her weaknes, I was sent for. 
And, finding that this rift on each side was cicatrized, and healed, I 
perswaded her not to meddle with it, but to bee contented to suffer the 
breach> for that it would bee troublesome, and difficult to cure, and also, 
for that, if shee should have more children, they would bee more easily 
born/ through the spaciousnes of the place, made more open and pass- 

Pareus saith chap. 27..Hb. ,^ de generatione hominis, That this 
breach is a most unfortunate mischance for the mother afterwards. For 
when shee should travaile again (if that it could bee healed) shee cannot 
have her genitall parts to extend, and to, draw themselves in again by 

A breach 
made in 
the funda- 
ment by 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

the birth. 

reason of the scar. So that, then, it should bee needful that the chiru'r- 
gion should again open the place, that was cicatrized. Tor otherwise, sh ee 
shall never bee delivered, although shee strive, or contend never so much. 

The cold aire, with the cold keeping of women in travaile, doth 
straiten, and make stiffe the genitall passages, that they cannot bee easily 
relaxed, and so, by accident, oft is made a slow and painful labour. 

At Nottingham in Anno 1642 one Good wife More, dwelling on 
the long row, was foure dayes in labour. At last 1 was called, and, 
finding that the child came right, and that the birth was much retarded 
through cold, that shee had suffered, and taken, by keeping the birth- 
place, with thethighes, and hips, naked, in long kneeling ; I caused her 
to bee put into a warm bed, and to bee kept quiet. After a while, I 
gave her some medicines, to move throwes, and willed her to endeavour 
to sleep. About three houres after that shee had taken some rest, and 
had been kept warm in bed, strong labour came upon her ; and, on a 
sudden, as shee lay in her bed, shee was delivered by mee (of which the 
company knew nothing) of a living son, untill I called the midwife to 
mee, and willed her to take up the child. The mother, and her son were 
living April 6, 1661. 

At Wolerton Hall, nigh Nottingham Anno 1647 the Bailiff's 
wife, Good wife Percy, having lien long in labour, and wearied with 
kneeling (which is the country mode) and as good as naked over all her 
hinder parts, having her cloths laid as high as her hips, which way 
retarded the birth, and starved her body ■ Shee sent for mee. I came 
better than eight miles unto her, and found her kneeling in that uncomely, 
and unfitting manner, and having no throwes on her. And, finding the 
child to come in a right posture, I thought it the best way to give the 
simple midwife good words, to get her from under her hands, and 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


desired her to permit her woman to rest, and to ease her self on her 
bed, on which I placed her, and wrapped her warme. Afterwards, s I 
gave her medicines to move labonr. So I willed her to rest quiet, 
and to sleep, if that shee could. Some two, or three houres after that 
shee had thus been kept warm, finding her throwes increasing, I came 
unto her, and, as shee lay on the bed, shee was speedily delivered. 
Severall women, with the midwife, would not beleeve it, untill they 
heard the child to cry, the mother, and daughter now living in Notting- 
ham 1667, and this daughter is married, and hath a child. 

To these unhandsome, absurd, and foolish wayes, through igno- 
rance, some midwives have added cruelties, in pulling, and cutting off 
the armes of infants ; and have proceeded farther, through their grosse 
mistakes, and have wished some to cut off lumps, lying before the birth- 
place, affirming, That, otherwise, the woman could not bee delivered. 

A good friend, and an honest, good woman gave mee this report 
of her mother's sufferings. 

Her mother had a lusty, young woman for her midwife. And, in 
the time of her travaile, the infant came by the arme. 

Shee pulled long by the arme, so hoping to deliver her. But, at 
the last, with her pulling shee tore the shoulder from the child's body; 
then, wrapping it privately in cloths, shee conveyed it into her pocket, 
and fained an excuse, That shee must needs go home, saying that shee 
would come again. But, her mother continuing in extremity, another 
midwife was sent for, and shee was delivered before the first midwife 
returned. The child, being viewed, was seen to want an arme. Much 
search was made to find it, but it was not to bee found. At last, the 
first midwife returned. Shee was asked what shee had done with the 

of arms. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

child's arme. Then, with shame, shee took it forth of her pocket, and 
gave it to the company. 

I have cause to beleev the former report, for that, in the yeare 
1 643, there came into the house of a worthy, good friend, a woman with 
a little basket, having a child's arme, and shoulder in it, which was pulled 
off by the midwife, and her assistance. And my help was desired, to 
save the woman's life, that had the rest of the child remaining in her 
body. I went with the woman, and took the Gentlewoman's midwife 
with mee, for that I would not have the Gentlewoman discouraged, that 
was, then, great with child, at so sad an object, as shee had seen. 

I laid tins woman of the remaining part of the child's body, hav- 
ing this Gentlewoman's midwife by mee, and shee recovered her strength, 
and lived many years afterwards. 

Shee was Thomas Hofe's wife, hee, and shee lived at Willington 
in Darbyshire. 

Seek for the relation of Hampton Eidway Elizabeth Twomly. 

An aim 
cut off. 

I was called to Lichfield July 30 1670 to Mary, the wife of 
Edmund Hector, a barber-chirurgion. This woman was formerly 
laid by her midwife with good successe. But now shee had a birth, in 
which the child came by the arme. At my comming to her, I found 
with her three midwives. They had greatly tortured her body, by en- 
deavouring to reduce the child's arme, and, when it would not abide up, 
they would have pulled it away by the arme. But, at last, it was 
thought the best way to cut off the child's arme close to the shoulder. 
The infant was a boy. 

I found her much spent, and weak, and full of paine, and I had 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


no great encouragement to meddle with her, for that shee had been much 
abused, and, through ignorant midwives, her body much bruised. 

Shee intreated, and much desired to bee released, and eased of 
her tortures. I placed her kneeling on the side of a bed, and, finding 
the birth-place filled with the rest of the shoulder, I put it back, and 
endeavoured to draw forth the dead child with the crochet, but I could 
not, any way, conveniently fix it on the head, for that the neck was 
much distorted, and the head, on one side, lay deep in her body, and 
would not be removed. 

Therefore I laid aside the instrument, and made use of my hand 

And, having my hand anointed with fresh butter, I easily slid it 
up, and quickly found the other hand, and feet lying close together. I 
took hold of the foot, and brought it forth, without afflicting the woman, 
ever drawing leasurely, untill I had obtained the other foot. When it 
came to the hips; I turned the child, for that it came with the face to 
the mother's belly. Then I drew it to the neck, and, having put my 
middle finger into the child's mouth, to presse down the chin into the 
child's throat, I drew again easily, and the work was soon finished, in 
lesse space then half a quarter of an houre. 

Unless the head be fixed in the bones, the which is seldome found, 
after that the midwives have endeavoured to pull the child forth by the 
arme (for by their pullings the neck commeth greatly distorted, and 
crooked) I would not have the chirurgion to offer to. draw it by the 
crochet ; but, by his hand, to fetch it away. So will his worke bee 
easier, and better bee performed by the foot, then by the crochet. 

If hand and foot lie close together, you may easily distinguish 

w~2 ~ ' 

A distor- 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

between them. The thigh is much thicker then the arm, and the foot is 
grosse, and thick, and hath no bendings, but with short toes. The hand 
is small, and long, and full of bending fingers. 

And I know assuredly, That, where there is room to put up the 
hand, that a woman may easier, and better bee delivered by the hand, 
and more sooner, then shee can bee by the crochet. See the scheme. 

And it will bee more pleasing to the woman to bee laid by the 
hand. For instruments bee dreadfull to them. 

Some three, or foure houres after that this woman was delivered, 
upon some discourse, I desired to see this child again. The midwife, 
that cut off the arme, brought it to mee. The child was very hand- 
somely put into a shirt, and the arme was put up into the sleeve unto 
the shoulder, and the hand tied at the wrist, and decently laid by the 
child's side. 

It was so well done, and shrouded, that to one, that knew 
nothing, and had onely looked on the child's body, thus shrouded, that 
this ill work, at a distance, could not have been perceived, that the arme 
was cut off at the shoulder. 

In probability, the other midwife would have used this sleight, 
to cover her rude handling, and doings, had not they been casually dis- 

This woman lived some four, or five dayes after her delivery, and 
then shee departed, as I feared. 

A great 
about a 

Anno 1648, or thereabouts, I was desired, by an eminent midwife, 
joined with two other midwives, to come to a labouring woman in much 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Before I saw the woman, these midwives assured mee, That there 
lay a great lump of flesh before the womb, and that shee could not bee 
delivered before that lump was removed, and they all desired mee to cut 
it forth. 

After that I had placed the woman kneeling, and had considered 
of the matter, I found this lump of flesh (so called by them) to bee the 
child's head, enfolded in the womb, as yet not opened, and that some 
part of the neck of the womb was descended with it into the vagina 

These midwives would not beleeve it, but told mee severall strange 
stories, to induce mee to cut it forth. I desired them to bee patient, 
for that I hoped that all would go well with the woman, without cutting, 
or taking away of the lump. 

I put her to bed, I gave her first a clyster, and willed her to keep 
it as long as shee could, and to give her self to sleep. Not long, after- 
wards, I gave her medicines to prepare, and make way for a birth, for 
that shee had slight throws. 

The womb ascended, this lump returned again into her body, and 
was no more felt. 

Between two, and three of the clock in the ensuing morning, the 
waters issued, and, about an hour after, shee was delivered by mee of a 
dead child. Shee recovered well again her strength, and health, and 
hath, since that time, been the mother of severall living children. 

Had I beleeved these midwives, and had been overcome with their 
stories, and perswasions, then should I have caused great effusion of 
blood, by cutting away part of the womb with the child's head in it. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 




And, in so doing, I should have destroyed the woman, and have filled 
the eares of all, that should have heard of it, with various, and ugly 
reports of my harsh, ignorant cruelty, and bloody practice. 

Distorted head, or neck. 

Guillimeau 144. 

When the child commeth, in an unnaturall birth, with a distorted 
neck, the head lying in the flank, or on the back, or breast, after con- 
venient placing the woman, draw the birth forth by the feet. See the 

When any one shall endeavour to try this way of Guillimeau, I 
beleev that hee will not find it facile, or easy to bee done, but that hee 
will rather approve the way, by drawing by the feet, much more easy, 
and better, then after this way to produce the infant by the head. 

See p. 162 the Lichfield woman with the distorted neck. 

Strang Afterbirths. 

In the yeare 1648 I was called to a worthy, civill, good condi- 
tioned woman, being with child, and, full of feares, and having passed 
the better part of her going with child, yet her belly was not great, 
which troubled her thoughts, mistrusting, that somewhat would fall 
amisse to her, or her child, if not to both ; For that shee felt it some- 
times weakly to link, and dully to move in her body, and, at that instant 
time, the child having the same motion, shee prayed mee to feel, if that 
I could perceive the same. 

Her body was so fallen down, that I could easily reach it with my 
finger, without any trouble, or enforcement. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


I assured her, that I did perceive the dull motion, with the link- 
ing, that shee had mentioned. 

Shee intreated mee (when occasion should bee) to come unto her, 
for that shee was resolved to have mee with her in the time of her 

Shee sent for mee, and I came speedily with her messenger, but 
shee was delivered of a small embryon before my comming, not much 
longer than my little finger. 

But the secondine was more then two inches thick, resembling a 
griped hand, and fashioned like a round turnep, having a small, flattish, 
round hollowness in the bottom of it, like a broad saucer, and covered 
with the membrane annexed to it, in winch this Embryon was enfolded. 
I never saw the like afore, or since, and beleeve that I shall never see 
the like againe, for the roundnes and great thicknes. Shee had 
severall children after this abortion. 

In the yeare 1634, or thereabouts, in June, I was sent for by a 
Gentlewoman. Sheliad flouded, and it was stayed, by letting her bloud 
in the arme, and giving her astringent cordials, and Juleps. But it oft 
returned again, and againe. At last, shee had great abundance of blood 
flowing by pashes, with them came a roundish lump of hard flesh, of a 
gristly substance, bigger than a goose egge, which was thick, and hard 
to cut. It was, in the middle, hollowish, the breadth, and space of a 
little nutmeg, in which was a small body, no bigger then a barley corn, 
hanging by a navel-string, and noting in water. 

After the comming of this after-burden, shee had no more floud- 
ing, or pashes of blood, but soon recovered again her former health, and 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

If the flux of blood be caused by the after-birth, comming afore 
the birth of the child, or in the time of travaile, 

When the after-birth offereth it self before the child bee born, 
lying either in the mouth of the womb, or appearing in the outward 
parts, Guillimeau, the French King's chirurgion, in his book of the 
happy delivery of women, fol. 132, saith, That the most sure, and ready 
way to help the woman, is to deliver her speedily, because, most com- 
monly, there followeth a continual flux of blood ; for that the orifices of 
the venes are opened, which are spread in the sides of the womb, and 
there meet with the vessels of the after-burden, and then the ma- 
trix doth straine, and force it self to put forth the child. Then doth 
it thrust out both the bloud, that is contained therein, and that, which 
is drawn thither, either by any heat, or paine. 

Besides, when the child is inclosed in the womb, and the orifice 
thereof stopt with the after-birth, then the child cannot breathe any 
longer by his mother's arteries, and so, for want of help, hee will bee 
quickly choaked, and even swallowed up in the blood, which is contained 
in the womb, ,and which issueth from the venes, that are open therein. 

But, before you attempt any thing, these two points must bee 

First, whether the after-burden bee come forth but a little, or, else 
very much. If it bee but a little (when the mother is well placed) it 
must bee thrust, and put back again with as much care, as may pos- 
sible bee. And, if the head of the child come first, let it bee placed 
right in the passage, thereby to help the natural! delivery. But, if you 
find any difficulty, or, if you perceive, That the child's head cannot 
easily bee brought forward, or, that the child, or his mother, or both 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


together bee weak, foreseing that the travaile will bee long, then, with- 
out doubt, the best and surest way is, to search for the feet (as wee 
have said) and to pluck him forth gently by them. 

The other point, to bee observed, is, That, if the said after -birth 
bee much come forth, and that it cannot bee put back again, (as well 
by reason of the bignes of it, as also, of the flux of blood, that com- 
monly companies it,) and likewise, if the child follow it close, staying 
onely to come into the world, then must the after-burden bee pulled away 
quite, and, when it is come forth, it must bee laid aside, without cutting 
the string, that cleaves unto it. 

For, by the guiding of the same string, you may easily find the 
child ; who, whether hee bee alive, or dead, must bee drawn forth by the 
legs, with as much dexterity as may bee. 

And this must bee done onely in great necessity, that the child 
may bee quickly drawn forth, as it may easily bee judged by the sentence 
of Hippocrates, who saith : That the after-burden should come forth 
after the child, for, if it come first, the child cannot live, because hee 
takes his life from it, as a plant doth from the earth. 

Sometimes, it chanceth, That a part of the after-birth, as also 
the membrane, that contains the waters, doth offer itself, like a skin, and 
comes forth, sometimes, the length of half a foot, which happens to 
such women, as have the skin, wherein the waters are contained, swelling 
out, to the bignes of one's fist, or more, which, breaking forth of them- 
selves, leave the skin hanging forth, and yet the child not following it. 
Which happening, it must not bee violently puTd away, because the after- 
burden, oftentimes, is not wholly loosened from the sides of the womb. 
So that, in drawing that, you shall likewise draw the said after-burden, 


Observations in Midwifery, by 


and so, consequently, the womb, or else part thereof; which, commonly, 
brings the woman into extreme paines, and faintings, yea and, often- 
times, to death. 

Which Guillimeau said happened (to his great grief) unto a 
Gentlewoman, that died so soon, as shee was delivered, who putting her- 
self into her nurse's hands, who took upon her to bee a midwife, and 
was so venturous, as to pluck, and draw forth the said membrane, and 
part of the after-burden, which came to light by meanes of her chamber- 
maid, who had kept it, and shewed it us, after her decease, wee being 
very inquisitive to know the cause of her death. 

But, when this happens, it must not bee pulled away ; but, rather, 
gently bee thrust in again ; or, else, you must put in your hand between 
that, and the neck of the womb, to find the child's feet, and so to draw 
him forth, as wee have shewed before. Guillimeau chap. 12. lib. 2. 

The comming forth of such membranes happened to Mrs. Jane 
Molineux, at the birth of her daughter Mary, which was drawn forth by 
the feet. 

It happened again to her, after that shee was married to a second 
husband, Wildbore, by name, and nature, when shee was delivered of her 
son Thomas, who followed the waters. 

A good woman was delivered of a daughter., with such usuall 
afflictions, as bee incident to other women, November the second being 
Tuesday 1669. 

Her midwife made much strugling in her body, to fetch away the 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Sometimes shee said that shee had hold of it, but that it was 
again overslipped her hand. Thus was this woman tortured by her mid- 
wife for the space of an houre, or longer. But at last (as it was said) 
shee got it. But I can hardly beleeve, that she had it whole, for that 
the after-burden was lacerated, and, as supposed, part left in her body, 
where it did stick ; for that shee had great pashes of bloud afterwards, 
which came with a lump of spongious flesh. 

Her Physician was noc of this opinion, but thought that this 
lump of flesh was part of the womb rotted forth, and that the womb 
was torn by the midwife. 

Her husband's mother came to see her some five dayes after her 
delivery. Shee told her mother, sitting by her, that then shee flouded. 

Her mother caused the wet closier to bee taken from her, and to 
bee carried away into the next roome, for that it sented very strongly ; 
where this cloth was opened, and seen filled with an odious, stinking 
moisture, in colour blackish, resembling pudled ditch water. 

Her friends, apprehending then much danger, desired that I might 
bee sent for, to come unto her the Saturday following. But, by reason 
of a former engagement, I could not then bee permitted to go. Yet, in 
my letter, I desired, That they would make use of Dr Dakins, that was 
nearly related to her. Unknown to mee, hee was in the house with her. 

Her husband, in his letter, did not mention any thing of her 
sufferings. And, for that shee was delivered, I was not too urgent to 
procure my liberty, but was willing to refer it to a more able man for 

Yet, as the busines fell out, I wished afterwards, That I had 

Anne Brad- 
ford at 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

gon; so that after her death, I might have had the liberty to have 
opened her body, to have seen the true cause of her ruine, which thing 
was desired by the physician, and some of her relations, after her de- 

The fifth day, the issuing humours were so stinking, having a 
cadaverous, suffocating sent, that the room was not well endured by the 
incommers, for that it caused in some of them a heaving at the stomach. 

Shee slept well at Saturday at night, 
before shee was well awaked, she talked idly, 
and towards night shee died. 

But on Sunday morning, 
Shee was ill all that day, 

Her midwife was very free uttering her opprobrious words against 
physicians, saying, That they alwayes made work, wheresoever they came. 
But it had been more for her credit, if that shee had not made such 
ignorant struglings in the womb of this good woman, that was ruinated 
by her doings. 

The Doctour, and his wife, being her Husband's mother, related 
these usages of her midwife's doings to mee, and of their daughter's 
death. And I suppose, That this old, ignorant midwife, in stead of 
the after-burden, took hold of some part of the neck of the womb, or 
of some other part thereabouts, and, mistaking her work, shee endea- 
voured to pull that away, which shee had hold of. And that shee had 
made excoriations, and bruises in the womb with her fingers, and nailes, 
from whence issued these noisome fluxes, shewing that the womb was 
mortified. Of this opinion was her Father in law the Dr. and that the 
after-burden was not drawn away by her skill, but rather, in part, ex- 
pelled by nature's enforcement. 

After the child is borne, the after-birth is a useles, dead piece of 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


flesh. It cannot slip away, if that the midwife gather it in her hand, or 
take hold of it with her fingers. 

Strong blasts from the month, or bokenings, caused by the finger 
put into the throat, or coughing, or, most of all, sneezing hath oft driven 
forth the after-burden, without the midwife's essaies to fetch it. 

And, without all doubt, when the midwife hath hold on the after- 
burden, and draweth gently, upon the enforcements of coughings, 
sneezing &c it will come away easily. 

Mercatus lib. 4. cap. 4. fol. 521 inquit, Primb considerandum est, 
an incuria obstetricis, vel aha occasione, secunda intrb se receperit, et, an 
ab utero separata sit, aut alicui parti affixa Turn, quidem, ante aliud 
auxilium, sinistram manum oleo lilior. albor., aut dialthsese illitam in pro- 
fundum uteri obstetrix hnmittat, et captam secundinam leniter alliciat. 
Quod si in ejus extractione, plurimum sanguinis fluat, laudatur karabe 
pulverizati 3J in vino, quod urinas moveat, secundas pellat, et sanguinem 
fluentem sistat. Prseterea de numero eorum auxiliorum, quse ad 
secundar. propulsionem plurimum valere comperimus, unum porro ster- 
nutatio est, ut millies, experimento facillimo, confirmari potest. Dr. 
Harvey saith fol. 520, That the secondine being torn off from the womb, 
the greater part of the blood, which flowes afterwards, doth issue, not 
from the conception, but from the uterus it self. 

I received this letter July the 17. 1670. 


On Munday last was moneth, about nine of the clock in the 
morning, my wife had a miscarriage, I being then gone to London a 
day, or two before. And shee tells mee, That, about a fortnight after 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

her miscarriage, shee being very weak, and not very well at stomach, 
had some cordiall, and also purgative things prescribed, and, amongst 
other things, a certain quantity of Axon root, of which shee had not 
taken above twice, or thrice, before shee begun to bee seized with a 
violent flux of blood, which hath ever since come in great quantities ; 
once, at lest, but, for the most part, twice in 24 houres, with many 
lumps, as it were, of clottered blood. Her distemper, as to the flux of 
blood, is not altogether so violent, as it hath been. But shee is very 
weak, sick at stomach, troubled with pain, sometimes in her armes, and, 
at other times, in her breast, and head. Shee takes very little sleep, 
and is much troubled with something, that seemes to arise from her 
stomach into her throat, and almost takes away her breath. Shee was 
never troubled with any fits of the mother, and shee tells mee, shee is 
certain that all came cleare away after the miscarriage. All which makes 
mee more doubtfull of the cause of her distemper, and very desirous of 
your advice in the busines. I would, therefore, earnestly intreat you, 
if, by any meanes, you can, to do mee the kindnes, as to come over 
hither, which I shall take as a great obligation. But, if any unavoidable 
occasions will not permit you to come at present, yet bee pleased to 
send mee such directions, and prescriptions, as you shall judge conveni- 
ent. But, if, by any meanes, you can come, you can no way more obliege 

Your affectionate friend 
W. S. 

I was not, at that time, permitted to go unto her. Before the 
Apothecary had prepared my prescripts, directed for her recovery, shee 
became well, and the flux of blood stayed a fortnight. After this time 
shee againe flouded violently. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Through my son's comming to supply my place, I was permitted 
to visit this worthy good woman. The day before I came the flux of 
blood stayed. Shee willed the women to keep, and to shew mee what 
came from her, the day afore, with the blood. They brought me a bason 
of water, in which severall skins, and lumps of flesh were swimming in 
the water. After this shee had no more issues of bloud. 

Many good medicines bee blamed without any just cause. The 
cordiall, to which the Aron roots were added, was to comfort, and 
to strengthen the stomach, and to cleanse the womb. 

And, had not these fleshy lumps, and skins come away, and so 
the womb purged of the remaining part of the secondine, in probability, 
shee would have fallen into severall distemperatures, and, at the last, 
some ulcer, or cancer, or mortification would have seized on the womb, 
and have ruinated her body. I caused a larg plaister of crude Galba- 
num to bee laid upon her navel, to suppresse the vapours. 

I gave her, in the morning, the powder of prepared amber, mixt 
with the yolk of an egge, and a little nutmeg, to cleanse the womb. 

To keep her body open, sometimes at night shee took a few 
graines of pil. cephalica magistralis, as graines three, to which (if more 
need required) a scruple of rhubarb powdered was added. This gave 
her two, or three stools the next morning, without any offence, not, any 
way, disquieting her body. 

When shee could not sleep, shee took, sometimes, two, or three 
graines of pil. pacifica hora somni. 

This pil is a great cordial, it quieteth the raging humours, and 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

ber the 
of Che- 


of blood. 


stoppeth violent flaxes of blood, without hindering the cleansing of the 

Thus, through God's permission, and mercy, shee was soon re- 

Though a great part of the after-burden was taken away by the 
midwife's hand, yet some part remained in her body, as was made mani- 
fest by the lumps of flesh, and the bloud, which came, and issued from 
her after so long a time. 

It also comforteth a weake, consumptive body, and keepeth the 
woman from miscarrying; but when labour approacheth, it then doth 
not hinder, or put off labour, but helpeth the woman to bee more easily 

Goodwife Menil. 

Fluxes of blood, before, in, and after delivery, bee dangerous, and 
hazard the lives of severall women ; and, as some live, so many perish 
of this infirmity. 

Alice, the wife of Edmund Fern, of upper Bonsall, after two 
moneths going with child, had the reds appearing on her, after the 
usuall manner of monethly courses, for foure moneths together, but 
they ever stopt at night. 

Then, after this time, every three weeks, and that in abundance, 
yet they stopt alwayes at night. 

About a fortnight before her labour, shee had the reds, flowing 
for three dayes together very many, every morning, but they alwayes 
stopt at night. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Shee had some grumbling pains Sep. the 24 1661. Her waters 
gathered, and flowed Sep. 27, breaking without enforcement. After 
this shee continued in paine. 

I came to her September the 30th, about foure in the afternoon, 
and found her weeping, and walking in her house. All these passages 
shee related to mee, despairing much of her life, and still continuing in 

I desired her to lie down upon her truckle-bed, and covered her 
with a blanket. I anointed her back with oile of charity, and laid em- 
plastrum de smegmate on it. I anointed the anus, and the birth-place 
with Balsamum Hystericum, and found, that, with straining, shee had 
much thrust forth the piles. 

I conveyed a spoonfull of Balsamum Hystericum to the mouth of 
the matrix. I gave her a clyster of milk, made with sugar, turpentine, 
and the yolk of an egge, in respect that the birth of the child seemed 
to bee far off. 

But shee could not keep it. Her paines increasing, I conveyed 
more of the Balsamum Hystericum into the passages of the womb. 

Quickly, after this, shee was delivered, and was troubled no more 
with any flux of blood. 

Being put into her bed I gave her a spoonfull of oile of charity. 
By it's virtue, shee was freed of all the sufferings of the after paines. 

The child was weak when it was born, and some of the women 
would have it dead before shee was delivered. 

I dissolved hard white sugar in small cinamon water, and, after- 




Observations in Midwifery, by 

wards, put some Balsamum Hystericum to it. I gave it a spoonfull of 
this mixture. The child recovered, aud that night was christened, and 
was named Mary. 

I heard from tins woman three moneths afterwards, and, then, 
both mother, and child were living, and in good health. Such a vari- 
able, and continuing flux of blood I never heard of afore, and that both 

Saturday Feb. the first 1667, Mary, the wife of Roger Earing, 
of S. Albnan's parish in Darby, being great with child, flouded, and 
complained of great pain, that girded her under her stomach, which was 
removed by an ordinary clyster. 

I gave her filipendula roots poudered, with white amber prepared, 
and a few graines of an unripe gall in a caudle, with nutmeg, and sugar. 
But the medicine did little good. 

Shee flouded, with intermissions, five dayes ; and, the sixth day in 
the afternoon, violently, in great quantity, with clots of blood. It gave 
over for foure houres. At night, about ten of the clock, shee was sud- 
denly delivered with little paine, and then shee lost more blood ; but it 
stopt of it self. 

Her midwife endeavoured to bring away the after-burden, and had 
much lacerated it. But, fearing her life, left off farther proceedings. 

I was again sent for. I fetched away a great part of it, and durst 
not struggle, or search any more for the rest. And, to prevent farther 
flouding, I gave her the white and yolk of an egge beaten together, and 
mixt with a caudle, to drink. 

Shee oft fainted, but, by spirting aqua vitas into her nostrils, shee 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


still revived. Shee looked very pale, and was thirsty, and weake, 
desiring drink. I gave her again the caudle with the egge. Shee con- 
tinued all that night sickish, and fainting ; but was still preserved by 
spirting aqua vitse into her nostrils. 

About two houres after my comming, I gave her pulvis Castorei 
compositus with mithridate, and more caudle to drink. Shee was, in a 
manner, senseles, but revived much at the taking of the medicine. Shee 
slept well the latter part of the night. The next morning, the other 
part of the after-burden came away, when shee made water. After the 
taking of the egge shee nouded no more. 

Her child was weak, yet it did suck, and seemed to gather 
strength. It lived two dayes, and then died. 

Though these children may seeme lively, yet they hardly live after 
flouding. But, for the most part, usually, they bee all still-born. 

There was a young Gentlewoman after her delivery, that, all the 
time of her moneth, and, afterwards, lost much blood, with clottered 
lumps, which pashed from her, and this infirmity continued some seven 
weeks. I gave her the prepared powder of white amber, with the yolk 
of an egge. This medicine did little good. I added to it the powder 
of filipendula roots. It did not prevaile. At last I put to it the powder 
of an unripe gall, and, in thrice taking, it quite stopt the flux, and the 
medicine was thus composed. 

ft pul. succini 3j pul. rad. fihpend. 3s pul. gal. immatur. gr. yj np 
Shee took this in a caudle. 

If need require, augment the powder of the gall. Remember 
Lucy Yaughan, abundance of great clotted lumps of blood. 




Observations in Midwifery, by 


Audly was 

the other 



In the yeare 1637 

I was sent for by a right Honorable Countess, that had gone with 
child some twelve or fourteen weekes. Shee had suffered a flux of 

To prevent miscarrying I let her blood, and gave her astringent 
cordials, and juleps, intreating her Honour to stirre little, and to lie, or 
rest much on her pallet-bed. By tins course the flux was stopt for a 
fortnight, and then it began again. 

Her Honour was too squeamish, to her great prejudice. There- 
fore I desired my Lord to grant mee some assistance. So two Doctors 
of Physic were sent for. One of them conceived that the Countesse 
was not with child. But I imagined the contrary, and the event proved 
him deceived m his opinion. 

After some seven, or eight dayes they left her (as was supposed) 
indifferent well. But that afternoon, shee grew ill, and was all over her 
body very cold, and shivered. 

I desired her Honour to be pleased to go into bed, and I put severall 
stone bottles, filled with hot water, about her, wrapped in napkins. 
These caused a great sweat, and, in it, came from her, ab utero, very 
noisome purgings, and a sharp feaver seized on her. I desired my Lord 
to send for her physicians again. 

One of them came, and, after his comming, shee suffered a great 
flux of blood, and then hee would have her let blood again. At which 
my Lord was troubled. Tor this Dr. had formerly (but in private) in- 
formed my Lord, That I had don ill to let her blood, and that now 
(forgetting liimself) hee would have let her blood againe. My Lord 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


would have had mee to have called him knave, for his private wronging 
mee, with his backbiting words. But I was silent, and did not obey 
my Lord's command, although he deserved ill at my hands. 

At this Doctor's command, her arm was bound, and I ready to 
open the vene. But her Honour willed us to forbeare, and to retire. 
So I loosed the ligature. 

Shee used her close-stoole, and filled nigh a fourth part of it with 
blood, the which the Dr. seing, he desisted from letting her blood. 

This Dr. gave her, sometimes, purges, at other times, cordials. 
And, I think, hee was puzled in his judgment, for that shee continued 
flouding, but not in so violent a manner. 

And shee oft avoided some small lumps of flesh, with severall 
substances, like the stalkes of raisins, hard, and blackish, the which I 
shewed to him, and desired to know what these might signifie. But hee 
would give mee no answer, not knowing what to say, or think. After 
this followed much griping pain in her belly, whereupon it was anointed 
with the oile of mace, and sweet almonds, and the oile of nutmegs. 
And, afterwards, was applied a pancake, by his directions, made of twice 
so many yolks of egges, with half their whites, in which, by beating, 
was mixt some caroway seeds bruised, and turpentine, and so fried in a 
pan with butter, and oile, without stirring, which, between two thin linen 
cloths, was applied warme to the belly. And that day came from her 
an abortion, putrefied, having the armes and legs rotted off. Afterward 
came severall lumps of the after-birth with blood. Shee suffered severall 
relapses, but, at last, her Honour was recovered, and, afterwards, shee 
conceived again, and, in due time, had a son, now living, Anno 1669. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

A brother in law, a very loving friend, and a well-wisher to his 
wife's sister, came behind his sister in law, and, in a sporting way, put- 
ting his hands under her armes, and breasts, lifted her from the ground, 
and gave her two or three jogs, or shakes. Shee, being then with child, 
within few weeks afterwards, shee fiouded, and, so miscarried. And 
this affliction did adhere unto her body, and nigh the time of her de- 
livery, shee alwayes miscarried of severall children. 

So it is made manifest, That any violent motion is hurtfull, and 
dangerous to women with child. 

Being great with child, and having not long to go, shee came to 
mee, in hopes, to prevent this miscarrying. I was not willing then to 
trouble her with medicines, but promised her to use my best endeavours 
for her delivery. 

Not long after, shee sent unto mee, to let mee know, That her 
waters were broken ; but, for that Shee was in no pain, shee permitted 
mee the favour to keep my bed. 

Some foure houres after I went unto her, about nine in the morn- 
ing, and, finding her to rest quietly, and void of pain, I was not willing 
to trouble her, but I onely desired to see some of her wet closiers. Shee 
brought forth one full of blood from her body, (the which shee supposed 
had been but wetted with her water) and her bed, and linens were filled 
with much blood. Whereupon I removed her into a dry bed, and the 
flux was stopped. 

Two, or three dayes after I delivered her, but the child was borne 
dead January the eighteenth, 1665, the winch, I conceive, perished in 
the flux of blood, that shee last suffered. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


I sent her case unto a worthy Gentleman,, being a learned, and ex- 
pert Doctor in Physick, and hee returned answer, That there would bee 
but small hopes of better succes, and that shee was ever likely to mis- 

It was my good hap to read a story in this kind, and I resolved to 
make use of it. 

And, contrary to hope, after that shee was again quick with child, 
according to my Auctor's prescript, I gave her twice a week a strength- 
ening trochise, that was, withall, a little purging, which gave her two, 
or three stooles those dayes, that shee took it, purging gently, not at all 
disquieting her body; and a drying diet drink, which shee drank of 
every day. 

Shee went forth her full time, and was freed of flouding, and of 
the danger of miscarrying, and was happily delivered, by her midwife, of 
a living daughter, that, at this instant, is strong, and spritefull, and, in 
probability, likely long to live 167^. 

Since that time, shee conceived again. I would have had her to 
have used the same medicines the second time, but shee was not willing 
to follow my requests, yet shee went forth her full time without any 
issue of blood, and was delivered of another daughter, that was born 
alive, but the child, being weake, it lived about eleven dayes, and then 

I beleeve that this weak child might have lived, if that shee had 
taken the same course the second time, as was desired. 

My Auctor mentioneth the same passage in his report, Hee would 
have had his patient to have taken the same course againe the fifth time, 


Observations in Midwifery, by 




but shee hearkened not. So when her time came, shee was brought to 
bed of a dead child. 

February the 12 1668 I came to a Gentlewoman, that was gone 
some twelve weeks with child. Shee had suffered a great pash, or flow- 
ing of the reds, but it stopt of itself that night. I stayed with her six 
dayes, and, in all that time, shee was no way disquieted in her body, and 
so I returned to my house. 

Some weeks after this, shee had some small driblings of the waters, 
and was perswaded, by the midwife, that tins watery flux was no more, 
but what was familiarly incident to women with child, and that shee 
would do well with it. Upon her assurance, neglecting her owne safety, 
shee took a journey, riding in her coach, and went to visit her friends, 
and kindred in the April following. Upon this journey, the waters 
issued in a larger quantity, and so increasing by the space of seven 
weeks. After her journey shee miscarried. 

June 22, 1669. 

A worthy, good woman, having gone six moneths, or longer, with 
child, whether upon a fright, or otherwise, had on her a dribling of the 
waters for severall weeks continuance. Shee acquainted nobody, but 
her midwife, of this her infirmity, for which her midwife gave her 
drinks, assuring her, That this flux was nothing else, but the whites. 

But this flux continuing, and daily increasing, did cause an abor- 
tion. Her midwife made a great bustle to fetch away the after-birth, 
and, with her strivings, shee caused a flux of blood. 

The midwife's doings put this Gentlewoman to much pain, where- 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


upon this good woman, with others of the company, desired that I 
should bee sent for. 

At my comming, the midwife told mee, That shee had brought 
part of the after-burden away, and that shee feared that the other part 
was left in her body. 

Some of the women thought that I would have made a new 
searching for it. But I did not offer any such thing, or doings. 

I desired her to keep her bed, and to He warm, and quiet, and, 
when shee could, to sleep. I also willed her, if that shee felt any pain 
in her belly, at that time to hold her breath, and gently to force her self, 
as though shee would endeavour to breake wind, and, at those times, to 
stroke down her belly. 

In the morning, after this night's rest, shee was desirous to make 
water, at winch time the other part of the after-burden came away, and 
dropped into the chamber-pot, and shee since is well recovered. 

When waters issue, and dribble long, bee assured that the mem- 
branes bee thin, or are cracked, through which the waters leake ; and, 
if it will not bee stopped, abortion will assuredly follow. Shee hath 
beene since delivered of a living son. 

Dr. Harvey saith fol. 521 

I have often seen waters burst forth in the midst of the going 
with child, without abortion, the child remaining safe, and strong, even 
to the birth. 

But hee maketh no mention, what the event may prove, if it con- 
tinue any time. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

May the twenty third 1669 Mrs Mary Mercer had a flux of the 
reds. Shee sent unto rnee, and desired my directions. But, afore her 
messenger returned, the flux stayed, so shee took nothing at that time. 

Shee flouded again June 22 violently, from ten in the morning, 
untill foure in the afternoon, at which time came from her a lump of flesh, 
resembling a chicken's liver, and then the flux ceased. I came to her 
about twelve that night, and her mother shewed mee this lump of flesh. 

But her paines continued, and would not suffer her to sleep, or to 
take any rest. The next morning shee cried out of the pain in her belly, 
and back. 

I thought that shee might bee in strong labour. After searching, 
I found the womb open, and the child unbedded. Within a little space, 
afterwards, shee was delivered, by her own strength, through nature's 
enforcements, of a very little child, which was living, and forthwith 
baptized. It was wrapt in clouts, not otherwise dressed, and laid aside, 
supposed to bee dead, presently after that it was baptized. 

But an houre after it was heard to cry. Then more care was 
taken to put it into warmer cloths. 

This child was very small, and about some thirteen, or fourteene 
inches long, of which shee miscarried about the sixth moneth. 

The child would suck milk, and water, mixed together, from a 
spoon, and died between seven and eight the next morning, about the 
same houre, in which it was born. 

I beleeve, That, in these fluxes of blood, and driblets of water, 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


that the womb is alwayes open ; If water issue onely, then the mem- 
branes to bee cracked, or grown very thin, and so, leasurely, the water 
leakes forth. 

If blood onely, then some part of the after-birth to bee loosed, 
and separated from adhering to the sides of the womb. 

When blood issueth forth in a larg quantity, it is good to deliver 
the woman speedily. Otherwise, through the long continuance of the 
losse of much blood, the woman is likely to perish. 

I conceive that the circulation of the blood, passing through the 
venes of the secondine, (called the placenta uterina) being separated 
from some part of the womb, and having their orifices laid open, do cause 
tins flouding ; for that the flux ceaseth, when that the placenta uterina 
is totally separated, and drawn forth of the body. 

Eluxes of blood too frequently prove fatal!. 

I knew three good women, the first flouded 1665, the second 
flouded 1666; The third flouded 1667. And this flux of blood con- 
tinued, with some intermissions, for three, or foare weekes. These women 
hoped, that the flux would have ceased of it self. But, through the oft 
returning, with the losse of much blood, they all (seeking for no help) 
died undelivered, none mistrusting any danger of death. 

If the flouding come from the outward part (or the vagina uteri) 
the womb is closed, and the woman hath no throwes, or likelyhood of 
delivery, having no paines. 

In this case, it is not needfull to meddle with the woman, by 
using forcible wayes to cause delivery. 





7: 8: 9: 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

But you must proceed to medicines, internally, and externally 
used, or applied, to eoole the body, and stay the flux of blood ; in which, 
before the evil hath had too long a continuance, take the counsell of a 
learned Physician. 

I knew a learned physician, that used such prescripts, as followeth. 

R aq. plantag. liss. syr. de symph. de corallis aa 3j S J*- de 
papav. et portul. aa 5 s 1f 9? fiat julap. capiat ^iij pro vice, hora qualibet 

Emplastrum ad herniam q. s. cujus circuitus obducatur galbano. 
Apphcetur umbilici regioni statim. 

I£ mosch. gr. ij cons. flor. consolid. q. s. fiant pil. et deaurentur 

B bol. Armen. et lap. Hoematit. subtilissime pulv. aa 3s. sang, 
draconis, succi alb. coral, rub. pp. aa 3j s. a. fiat pulvis subtilissimus, 
add. sacch. rosati ad pondus omnium, pro vice capiat 9j. statim a 
sanguinis missione, et repetatur hora somni, et sic postea mane, et serb 
superbibat haustum posset, decoct, fol. plantag. et symph. 

Hora somni sumat Diacod. 3 s m haustu posset, prescript, assu- 
mendo prius dosin pulver. prescript. 

Hee alwayes caused to bee in a readines thin cinamon water 3iij- 
Also sp. castor. 3s. 

The juice of mints, boiled in water, and sweetened with fine 
sugar, and drunk three dayes together, cureth the pain in the belly, and 
colick, and stoppeth the inordinate issue of menstruous blood. 

By the counsell of three Doctors in physic this prescript following 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


was prescribed for an Honourable good Lady, that was troubled 
with great weaknes, and too abundant over-flowing of the menstruous 

ft coral, rub. et margar. prepar. aa 3rj lapid. Hsemat. ter. sigill. 
croci Martis aa, 3ij oculor. cancr. 3j spodii eboris aa 3js ol. nuc. mos- 
chatse per expressionem gut. iiij sacchar. ^iiij aq. rosar. q. s. fiant 

The juice of bursa pastoris, given to drink, is much commended 
by women to stay this flux. 

Purvis Stegnoticus D ni Caspari Guttuarii descript. a Philippo 
Hectistetetero fol. 2. 

ft succin. alb. pp. corn. cerv. usti aa 3i lapid. setit. nuclei in- 
terioris 3J lapid. hsemat. pp. corallor. rubror. solutor. terr. sigillat. verse 
aa 5J Corneoli pp. 3j omnia in pulverem tenuissimum redacta 19? 
Dabit adultis in magno fluore, maxime post partuin, drachmam unam, 
in aliis tantundem. In dysenteriis, etiam diarrhseis, et aliis fluxibus, aut 
hsernorrhagiis, junioribus drachmam semis, aut pro setate, eum conveni- 

R pulveris stegnotici 3J aq. plantag. utrivsq, burs, pastoris, tor- 
mentil. aa 5J tabel. manus cbristi perlatse %s iy> fiat haustus. Terri- 
bilem sanguinis fluxum a quovis loco sistit. penis 12. 

Quidam felicissime usus est syr. de plantag. simpl. in penis 
hsemorrhagia sine febre et calculo, ubi, ob dilatat. colatorimn, sanguis 
fluxit. Est omnis hsemorrhagia in tali casu maligna calamitosa imb 
ssepissime lethalis. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

Laudauit olim inagnus ille Pharmacopeeus Sigarhes junior syrupum 
de plantagine compositum in hsemorrhagiis, cujus heec est descriptio. 

I£ succ. plantag. ^viij aq. rosar. li. ij spodii, nucis cupressi, balau 
stior. sumach, sang. drac. gum. arab. mastiches, olib. gallar. hypocestid. 
eboris, lapid. hsemat. aa 5§ sacchar. q. s. fiat artis lege syrupus. Philip- 
pus Heckstetterus in casu tertio in nimia hsemorrhagia narium, et penis 
lethalis fol. 10. 

Dr Wilham Sermon fol. 150 of the English midwife saith 

R. of the distilled water of hog's dung 4 spoonfull at a time, iij or 
iiij times. Or give to the woman foure or five graines of the ashes of 
a toad in the water aforesaid, and it prevaileth, when no other medicine 
will take place, and will stop any other flux of blood, taken, as aforesaid. 
With this very medicine, hee saith, I have cured many, by giving it in- 
wardly, and by bloAving it up into the nostrils of such, as have been, as it 
were, dead by bleeding at the nose. And it is as safe as new milk, if it 
bee well prepared. 

And fol. 152. You may, with a syring, inject the juices of 
comfry, and plantane into the womb. Or, dissolve a small quantity of 
gum Dragon, and gum arabick in plantane water, and inject it into the 
womb. Or, take amber, dragons blood, sealed earth, pomegranate pils, 
fine bole, galls, red roses, frankincense, comfry roots of each a like 
quantity, make them into fine powder, and, with the juice of comphry, 
make it into a past, mixing therewith a little cotton, and make a pessary 
thereof, about the length of a woman's finger, and put it up into the 
womb. This doth not onely stop the violent flax of blood, but also 
contracts the secret parts to the same narrownes, as they were before the 
bringing forth of the children. 


Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


[These bee the sayings of Dr W m Sermon, in whose English mid- 
wife, or Ladie's Companion, bee severall good notes, worthy to bee 
taken notice of, and followed by such, as know how to make use of good 

Mrs. Jane Sharpe commendeth a strong decoction of the roots, 
and leaves of plantane, after that it is clarified with whites of egges, 
and made into a syrup. Dosis, a spoonful, or two, in violet water, or 
water of lillies. Pol. 206 : her 6 book. 

" Ex libris nemo evasit artifex no man becomes a workman by book. 
So that unles they have had some insight in the art, and bee, in some 
sort, acquainted both with the termes of art, as also with the knowledg and 
use of the instrument thereto belonging, if, by reading this, or any other 
book of the like nature, they become chirurgions, I must needs liken them 
(as Galen doth another sort of men) to pilots by book onely ; to whose care, 
I think, none of us would commit his safety at sea ; nor any, if wise, 
will commit themselves to these at land, or sea either, unles wholly 
destitute of others.'" 

At all times, the losse of much blood, or flouding is dangerous 
in women with child, and in severall of them, both mother and child 
have perished. 

In the year 1632 I was sent for to a worthy good woman, being 
great with child. Shee had an issue of blood, not continually, but oft 
flowing from her. In probability, it came from the venes in vagina uteri. 
Shee had a good, fresh countenance, and was the mother of many 

That night, in which I came unto her, I intreated her to bee 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

pleased to take a mollifying clyster, to facilitate her birth, and to coole 
her body. For, at that time, shee had the issue of blood on her. 

But shee was unwilling, and desired to bee quiet that night. 
Before morning, shee had lost much blood, and, in the morning, the 
waters flowed, and, then, the issue of blood stayed. Shee was very 
faint, yet, in her weaknes, the child had entered through a great part of 
the bones, and would come no farther by nature's enforcement, nor was 
shee any more releeved by her midwife. 

Being much moved by the Knight that brought mee thither, as 
also by her good, and loving Husband, being unwilling to use any 
violence, I objected, what if the child should bee alive ? Her husband 
prayed mee to use any meanes to save his wife's life, and a Priest, stand- 
ing by him, willed mee, whether the child should bee living, or dead, 
to proceed, not valuing the child's life, saying, That, without all doubt, 
the child already was, or shortly would bee a Saint in heaven. Where- 
upon I went unto the Gentlewoman, and with her desire, and consent, 
I drew the child with the crochet, and shee was quickly delivered. So 
soon as shee, was delivered, shee desired Dr. Mountford's water, and 
drank a draught of it. Shee did not floud afterwards, yet fainted away 
by degrees, and died some five houres after in the night, through the 
losse of much blood, which, formerly, shee had suffered. 

The child was dead before I drew it. The child was faire, and 
great, and it had no ill savour, and it was not, in any part, flayed, or the 
skin gon off the body. 

Goodwife Oldam, a fisherman's wife in Darby, 1634, for severall 
days together, nigh the time of her travailing, lost great store of blood, 
having no throws, or pain, to move delivery. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Towards her ending, I was called to her, and, seing her fainting, 
and her spirits spent, and finding no pulse, or one very weake, I gave 
her a cordiall, but I told the women, for all that shee was very sensible, 
that, through the losse of her blood, shee would quickly die. The wo- 
men did not beleeve my words, the which they found true within the 
space of three houres following. 

After her death shee was opened. In the small bowel ileon was 
found a double convolvulus, which made her oft to vomit. It troubled 
mee much afterwards, that I had forgotten to search whether the orifice 
of the womb was open. 

I suppose that it was not opened, for that shee had not any pain, 
or signe of labour. A great child was found in the womb, inclosed in 
the membranes, and swimming in the waters ; which (too late) caused 
mee to doubt, whether this issue of blood came per uteri vaginam, ex- 
ternally ; or internally, ab utero. 

If the flux of blood come from the vagina uteri, I suppose the 
aforegoing cordials may do some good. 

But, if the flux of blood come from the inner part of the womb, 
the midwife, or chirurgion, sliding up his anointed hand into the first 
entrance of the naturall parts, must take out all the clots of blood, (if 
there bee any to bee found) before hee endeavoureth to deliver the 

Afterwards, if that the inward neck of the womb bee not suffici- 
ently dilated, then shall hee, as gently as hee possible can, and without 
violence, anoint those parts with fresh butter, or rather use Balsamum 
Hystericum, and then, with his fingers, to stretch the os uteri by little, 
and little, untill hee can put in his hand into the womb. 



Observations in Midwifery, by 


If the waters bee not broken, hee needs not to bee afraid to let 
them forth. Then, presently, if the child commeth with his head for- 
niost, hee shall turn him (in the woman's weaknes) to find his feet, and 
so deliver the woman speedily by the child's feet, as hath, in severall 
places, been directed. 

I was sent for into Staffordshire, to visit a woman, that had some- 
times flouded, but it was stayed October the eight 1668. 

The ninth of October shee had a pash of blood in the morning, 
and another about foure in the afternoone ; but, with astringent, cooling 
medicines, the flux was quickly stopt. 

The rest of the day, and night following, all things succeeded 


October the eleventh I was sent for by an Honourable Lady, big 
with child, to whom I had been formerly engaged. This sudden newes 
did much trouble her, and all that day, afterwards, shee had moisture 
comming from her, but no blood. 

Shee thought, that shee should have gone two, or three moneths 
longer ; and, upon my assurance, That I would not stay much from her, 
and that I would not forsake her, but that I speedily would return again, 
shee was chearfull, and took good rest, and slept well all that night, and 
the issue was stopt, and her linens about her were very dry the next 
morning, and shee, fearing no sudden danger, permitted mee my liberty 
to go to this Lady. 

So I came to Darby October the twelfth. But, about foure a 
clock that afternoon, shee again flouded, and so continued all that night, 
and the next day, losing much blood. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


That night I was sent for again, and came to her about foure in 
the afternoon, October the thirteenth. 

I found all the women lamenting, and, with her, two Doctors of 
Physick, giving her cordials to support her spirits, and three midwives 
to assist her. 

Shee was very cold ; and her pulse was gone, yet very sensible, 
rejoycing to see mee, and desirous of help. 

I certified the Physicians, and midwives, with the rest of the com- 
pany, privately, That I beleeved, That shee would not recover, being 
thus weakened, through the losse of much blood. 

Yet, in this extremity, I told the Physicians, and the midwives, 
that it was the best way (if possible) speedily to deliver her; and that 
it was the onely, and last refuge left to save her life. To my opinion 
the midwives and physicians forthwith consented. 

Wliilest that shee kneeled, I placed my self behind her, I slid up 
my anointed hand, I found the womb a little open, yet so narrow, that I 
could not well put up my finger. But, with my fingers closed together, 
I supplied the use of a speculum matricis, and easily dilated the orifice 
of the womb ; which, without any strugling, in a trice, (to my great 
wonder) sufficiently opened. I forced open the bed, in which the child 
was involved, by tearing the coats with my fingers, and the waters issued. 
I quickly brought forth the dead child by the feet, without strugling, 
or trouble. And the after-burden was as easily drawn away, and shee 
flouded no more. The child was' not at perfect growth. 

Nevertheles the cordials proved too weak to reinforce heat, or 
strength into her body, or to restore her pulse. Shee fainted more, and 

aa 2 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

more, by degrees, and, about an houre after her delivery, shee fell into 
her last sleep. 

Flouding doth most endanger the mother's life ; the driblings, or 
issue of the waters, the infant, and either, or both may bring (if not 
helped) a ruine to the mother, and the child. 

After her death, I was much troubled, and grieved, That I was so 
unfortunate to leave this woman for so short a space. 

I, therefore, intreat, and advice all midwives, not to leave their 
women, if they find them apt to floud, and not to suppose the danger 
past, although it seemeth to bee quite stopped; but to consult with 
physicians, what is best to bee done, and to remember, 

That the oftener the flouding return eth, that the more danger it 
threateneth, and that the sooner it will come againe. 

And that, whensoever their women have fluxes of waterish 
humours, mixed with these intermitting pashes of blood, to suppose, 
That they will not stay long before that they fall into travaile, or some 
other danger, -if not delivered. 

And, whensoever the blood issueth in great abundance, to endea- 
vour without any farther delay, or consultation, speedily to deliver the 
woman by the child's legs, otherwise, both mother, and child will perish 

As I have said, so still I conceive, that the cause of flouding is 
the separating of some part of the after-birth from the sides of the womb, 
and when these venes bee emptied, that then the flux stayeth, untill, 
upon repast, they bee againe filled, and then these venes, having their 
mouths open, do floud, and so will continue flouding, by intermissions, 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


untill the foetus bee produced, or the woman, through losse of bloud, 
bee deprived of her life. 

Therefore, in this sudden, sad, and deadly condition, the best way 
to save life will bee, speedily to open the womb ; afterwards, to break the 
membranes, or coats, in which the infant is inclosed, and, by the child's 
feet, quickly to deliver the woman, and then to fetch the after-birth. 

Otherwise, the mother, with the child, will perish, through the 
continuall losse of blood ; and it is not possible, in this case, otherwise 
to releeve the woman. Cordials will afford small comfort. It is delivery, 
and only delivery, that must do the deed. See Guillimeau. 

After delivery, these issues of blond ab utero stop of themselves. 

There was a Gentlewoman in Darbyshire Anno 1667, that, about 
the thirtieth week of her going with child, began to floud, with several! 
intermissions, stopping oft for a week, or longer time. Thus shee con- 
tinued for the space of five weeks, or longer. All which time shee sought 
for no help, but trusted to her midwife's ignorant skill. At last, through 
continuance, these fluxes came the oftener together. 

January the twenty ninth day shee violently fiouded. It stayed 
January the thirtieth, and, in the one and thirtieth day, shee avoided 
severall stinking clots of blood, and fainted. 

I was from home, and too late, a physician was sent for. 
her cordials, but they nothing availed. 

Hee gave 

February the first, about eight in the morning, the flux stayed, but 
her spirits being ruinated, through the losse of blood, shee died that 
day (undelivered) about twelve of the clock. 




Observations in Midwifery, by 

I was called to Sarah Cordine a vintner's wife in Darby 1663. 
Shee having flouded a week, or longer time, when I came to her, some 
of her kindred thought that shee was in no danger, and desired mee to 
direct them some cordials, to give her. 

I told them, That they had deferred time too long, and that I 
much feared her weaknes. Shee was weak, and much spent with her 
sufferings, which made mee unwilling to lay her. 

But, at last, being much intreated by her self, and her friends, to 
help her, I thought it not my part to forsake her dejected, and languish- 
ing, and to leave her with uncomfortable prognosticks. After that I 
had placed her kneeling, being behind her, I put up my hand, well 
anointed, and I found the womb open. I presently brake the membranes, 
containing the waters, in which the child was bedded, and drew the dead 
child forth immediately by the feet. The dead child was of no great 
bignes, and it was not, in any part, altered or corrupted. 

After the delivery, shee spake chearfully to mee, and to her friends, 
and seemed to bee much releeved. To comfort her spirits, and to re- 
store her weaknes, I was prescribing some directions. But a sudden, 
unexpected faintnes, comming upon her, stopt the use of my prescrip- 
tions, and terminated her dayes. 

And thus experience maketh apparent, how necessary it is, speedily 
to deliver a woman with child, when a flux of bloud, or convulsions do 
go afore the birth, or that they accompany the woman's body in time 
of her travaile, and when shee will not bee saved by ordinary medicines. 
These fluxes of blood, and convulsions usually cease after the woman is 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


After delivery, sometimes, though seldome, fluxes of blood happen 
to women ; immediately, or not long after, following the birth. I have 
known a few, that have recovered these fluxes ; but I have heard of 
many, from midwives, and other women, that they have died of them. 

I hold the flux of blood deadly after delivery, if it bee great, I 
never heard of any woman, that escaped, but that they all perished. 

I was sent for June the fourth 1662 ; to come to a woman, dwell- 
ing at Wavertoffe, nigh Castle-Dunnington. Her midwife could not 
deliver her. 

The arme came first. I turned the birth, and shee was soon de- 
livered of a living child, by the child's feet. That night shee had a 
great pash of the reds, and so every night, or other night. 

They hoped, that shee would have amended, and, not taking many 
medicines, nor so carefully attended, as might have been, within a fort- 
night shee died of this infirmity. 

After a troublesome labour about 1638 1 was sent for to a woman 
to Kyrk-Halam. I delivered her, and, to my thinking, shee was safely 
laid in her bed, and so I went from her. How it happened, I know not, 
but, afore the next morning, shee flouded, and so died. 

By a good woman I had this report related to mee. A kinswo- 
man of her's, a minister's wife, after delivery, had a draught of burnt 
muscadine given her. It set her a coughing, and that brought a flouding 
on her, of which, within two houres, shee died. 

To releeve, and help the danger of flouding, the complete mid- 
wife's practice ordereth to give her the yolk of an egge. For that 
recalls the naturall heat to the stomach, which was dispersed through 





Observations in Midwifery, by 

the whole body. Also, to dip a napkin in Oxycrate, or vinegar and 
water, and to lay it all along the renes of the woman's back. Or to lay 
upon each groine a skene of raw silk, moistened in water. 

Mercatus de immodico sanguinis flnxu post partum lib. 4. cap. ix 
fol. 527. hsec habet verba. 

Verum si immodicissima fuerit sanguinis profusio, ad queeq. auxilia, 
quantumvis gravia, deveniendum; ac satius quidem existimo, malum 
aliquod utero, aut toti corpori infere, sanguine suppresso, quam, in vita? 
desperatione, dubium periculum vereri ; prsesenti, et graviori, posthabito. 
Quamobrem scito, nil hujusmodi profusionibus citius subvenire, quam 
viriliter comedere, ut et calor revocetur, et natura distrahatur, alliciaturq. 
ad confectionem alimenti. 

Sine respectu, aut uteri, aut totius corporis, in vitse desperatione, 
cseteris omnibus posthabitis, ad extrema confugiendum, praesertim, cum 
subsequentia mala cui'ari postea possiut. Eonchiuus fol. 195. 

Reynold, the Physician, layeth linen cloths, dipped in vinegar, on 
the belly, between the navell, and the secrets, and giveth of the electuary 
Athanasia Micletse 3ij in plantane water. 

Hartmanus Corbeias adviceth to pulverize the root filipendulee ^ij, 
and to give every day a drachm of it in the yolk of an egge. 

Also hee commendeth Rad. mori with red wine. 

De radice filipendulae, inquit, dabo, quod sunguinem, ubicunq. 
fluentem, preecipue ex utero, efficaciter sistit. Every morning a drachm 
must bee given with the yolk of an egge. 

Mercatus commendeth the taking of a drachm of the powder of 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


white amber ; for that it moveth urine, and expelleth the secondine, and 
stoppeth the flowing of blood. 

One Mrs Mower assured mee, that amber powdered, half a 
drachm, and mixed with a little nutmeg, and given with the yolk of an 
egge, and so supped up, and, after it, to drink a little glass-full of mus- 
cadine, stoppeth the reds too much flowing, and that shee had cured 
severall women with this medicine. 

With Mrs Mower's medicine I helped a woman in Meet-street, 
at London, giving it in a caudle made strong with yolkes of egges, and 
a little mace. It was made with ale. 

But, I beleeve, in all these, there was no violent flux of blood, 
where these medicines prevailed. 

But, where flouding issueth with a streame, I shall not easily bee 
persAvaded, That filipendula roots, or succinum with yolkes of egges, or 
such like, will at all availe. 

I shall give more credence to the dung of asses, or stone horses, 
or of hogs, internally taken, and outwardly used in pessaries; or 
cataplasmes of these, mixed with vineger, and so, in cloths, applied to 
the region of the belly. Vide Sermon p. 260. 

Many have perished through this sad accident, and usually it 
proves fatall to all women. 

If possible, I heartily could wish, that some worthy practicer 
would bee pleased to direct some powerfull wayes, or medicines, to bridle 
this raging, destroying evil. Women would have cause to acknowledg 
his worth, and all succeeding ages would give him thanks. 

bb ' 


Observations in Midwifery, by 


This evil is never thought on, but when casually it happeneth, so 
that then convenient medicines bee to seek, and ever wanting. Some 
practicers say, That it commeth through putrefaction of the membranes, 
or through the breach of a great vene, adhering to the secondine. I 
feare, That, through the narrownes, and depth of the place, in which the 
breach is, that astringent medicines cannot well bee applied in pessaries, 
to reach the place. I confesse my ignorance, and I beleeve, That there 
is no other, but God alone, that can do this work, to help the woman. 
I suppose that astringent injections may bee somewhat available. 

Eiverius pro fluxu immodico post Abortum cent. 1. obs. 96. 

Qutedam mulier, post Abortum, a sanguinis fiuxu immodico 
summam virium dejectionem patiebatur. Illi prsescribo frictiones, et 
ligaturas superiorum, cucurbitulas sub mammis, epithemata, et pullos 
columbinos, fotus manuum cum vino calente, in quo confectio Alkermes 
dissoluta sit, et sequentem potionem. 

H aquar. plantag. naphse, et rosar. aa $i syrup, corallor. %i salis 
prunellse ^i sanguinis draconis 3s misce, fiat potio; quae statim fuit 
exhibita, et inter horae quadrantem dolores ventris, et lumborum quie- 
verunt, et fluxus imminutus est, ut aliis remediis non indiguerit. 

Dr. William Sermon in his English midwife fol. 150. Vide 260. 


Convulsions bee dangerous to women with child, and, in these fits, 
some women perish. 

I was desired to visit a Gentlewoman, not nigh her time of de- 
livery, that some times was afflicted with convulsions. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Of a sudden, they seized on her, and then shee lay, for a small 
time, senseles, and without motion. Presently, afterwards, her face, 
mouth, and jawes would bee fearfully moved, and pulled awry, and her 
eyes turned upwards. 

Sometimes, for a little space, these convulsions were not so violent ; 
yet, during the time of her suffering, shee was senseles ; but, after her 
comming again unto her self, when her fits left her, shee could not say 
that shee had felt any pain. All, that shee complained of, was, That 
shee felt a wearines all over her body. 

This Gentlewoman was young, and passionate, and was alwayes 
feeding on good meat, or broths, or restorative cullices, gellies, or such 
like; and ever carried bisket bread, with dried suckets, and cakes, 
almonds, and raisins of the sun, in great store, in her pockets, with 
which, both walking, and sitting, or playing at cards, shee liberally filled 
her mouth, and kept her chaps in moving. 

Shee went forth her full time, and recovered, and I never heard of 
any miscarriage, either in her, or in her child. But I beleeve her un- 
satiable appetite did much occasion these her convulsions. 

I knew another woman, that was delivered by a chirurgion, having 
the convulsive fits on her, her child perished. Being delivered, shee 
againe recovered her senses, and lived many years after, and was a 
mother of living children. 

December the third 1671 Susan, the wife of Nathaniel Doughty, 
being in labour, had a clyster given her by her midwife Hey wood. 

An houre after, shee fell into convulsion fits. After this affliction, 
__ _ 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

I was called, and the convulsion fits were upon her at my comming unto 
her, and continued all the time of her delivery. 

I placed her on a bed, and would have put her body into a bend- 
ing posture on her knees ; yet, by reason of her convulsions, I could 
not bring her body to it. 

Yet I obtained a foot, but, through the straitnes of her body, and 
the slipperines of the foot, and heele, I could not hold the foot, it still 
slipt out of my hand. The child being dead, I endeavoured to bring 
the head forth by the crochet, but it would not be thrust backwards, or 
drawn forwards by the crochet, but it remained fixt in the place. So 
that I could do no good by the head, in reference to the delivery. I was 
much amazed at it, and was full of doubtfull feares what to do. 

I fixed the crochet a little above the ancle, and by it, with my hand, 
the foot was drawn forth so far, that I could well fix a ligature on it. 
By the ligature it was drawn forth to the buttocks, and I found the other 
foot stretched forth on the belly, the which was brought down by my 
finger. Afterwards, when it was brought to the neck, I put my finger 
into the child's mouth, and, by the help of a woman, drawing by the 
child's feet, the head was brought forth, and the after-burden was easily 
obtained ; and her convulsion fits never left her, all the time of her de- 
livery, nor severall houres after. 

Being put into bed, at last her fits left her, and shee became a 
little sensible, but did not obtaine her perfect understanding, and thought 
that shee was not delivered ; and shee continued stupid, and sottish, not 
recovering her understanding, and, two dayes after, died. 

In her infancy, shee was afflicted with the rickets, through which 
infirmity, shee had an ill conformation of the bones. Shee suffered 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


several! abortions, but brought no birth to maturity, this onely excepted. 
The genitall passages were very narrow, and strait. 

Through the convulsions shee was weakened, and so perished in her 
child -bed. 

I was sent for to Boylston in Darbyshire by Ambrose Bayly, the 
husband of Dorothy Bayly. I was promised to bee paid largly, and 
thankfully for my going, in case that I would come unto him. 

* His wife was a young woman, supposed to bee in labour of her 
first child. In her childhood, and youth shee was much troubled with 
convulsion fits, and they had left her for eleven yeares January the 30 

January the 29 at eight a clock at night shee fell into convulsion 
fits, and, without any intermission, continued in them untill past one the 
next day, and senseles died in them. Within half an houre after her 
departure I came to the place, and found a company of Rooks about the 
house, and some at the Parsonage ; in both places making an unhand- 
some (not dolefull, but) cheating cawing. Their voices, and doings were 
not pleasing to mee. Not liking their company, I went away that bitter, 
cold, frosty night. I found no civility in any of them, but in her 
mother onely, who was afterwards Mrs. . 

Thomas Raynold the Physician saith in his treatise of midwifery, 
That an assess hoof, or dung, put on coales, and the fume received under 
the labouring woman's cloths, will draw forth the child. 

I have heard others affirme, That they have taken polypody roots, 
and, being bruised, and laid to the soles of the feet, they will do the 
same ; and that they have tried this medicine of polypody roots. 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

Mrs Sharpe saith, That agrimony roots and leaves, bruised, and 
laid to the secrets, doth the same. 

But, if any such thing hath, or can bee done, bee sure first to set 
the birth in a right posture. Otherwise the birth will bee the more ob- 
structed, and so the woman will be the more tormented, and not at all 

Observing Hippocrates first Aphorisme. 

Vita brevis, ars longa, occasio praeceps, judicium difficile, experi- 
entia fallax, neq. verb satis est, ea, quae facto opus sunt, praestb esse, sed 
et segrum, et eos, qui praesentes sunt, et res externas, ad id probe com- 
paratas esse oportet. 

Knowing his words to bee true, and that this Aphorisme may bee 
most usefull in the woman's bed, and the midwife's practice, I mention it. 

For that I know women bee not born midwives, and that long 
time, with much practice, helpeth them to understand their callings ; 
and, although they may bee expert in their wayes, yet their women may 
bee lost through negligent attendance, with want of necessaries. 

I have heard some midwives greatly to boast of their abilities. 
But, in their practice, they have shewed much ignorant simplicity, and, 
when, by their violent halings, and stretching their women's bodies, 
they could do no good to promote delivery, then I have been sent for. 

Their doings affirme, Dulce bellum inexpertis ; and, when occasion 
wanteth, that then wee think, that wee could performe wonders. 

Whensoever I was called to women in distresse, I found it a 
dreadfull thing unto my thoughts, humano ludere corio, and I would 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


willingly have desisted from this practice, had not Johannes Bohinus 
victoriam damans, et inquiens, satis commode pedem unum reperio, 
altered my resolution. 

Although severall women, with their living children, can testify, 
and have oft affirmed, That the delivery by the feet is nothing so pain- 
full, as when the birth commeth by the head. 

What I have said, and have oft approved most true, that eminent 
person D r Harvey fol. 491 in his discourse of the birth, hath confirmed 
in these following words. 

Yet, notwithstanding, in abortment, and where the fcetus is dead, 
and that there should bee an hard delivery any other way, so that there 
is necessity of handy work in the busines, the more convenient way, of 
comming forth, is with the feet formost ; for, by that meanes, the straits 
of the uterus are opened, as it were, by a wedg. 

Wherefore, when the hopes of delivery relyeth chiefly upon the 
fcetus, as being strong, and lively, wee must endeavour to farther his 
comming out with the head formost. 

But, in case the task is like to depend upon the uterus, wee must 
procure his comming out with his feet formost. 

By his sayings, I may well affirme, That the comming down of 
the arme, and all difficult births, whatsoever, will bee better laid by the 
feet, then by the head. 

And, by this way, all over grown children may bee produced, 
where the passages bee straight, and narrow, and the womb left dry. 

Being called July the eight 1667 to Church-Broughton, to deliver 



Observations in Midwifery, by 



Elianor Kniveton, the wife of Gilbert Kniveton I found three midwives 
with her, and one of them had reduced the arme, with much torture to 
the woman. Their skill could go no farther, they caused mee to bee 
sent for. The child was dead, and the expulsive faculty of the womb 
was extinct. I placed her kneeling on a bolster ; I quickly obtained 
the feet, and so, without throws, 1 quickly laid her, and shee soon re- 

These midwives saw mee do it, and since, shee, with her husband, 
have thankfully acknowledged this my courtesy, at my house in Darby. 
And shee hath had another child since that time, now living. Anno 

The same birth happened to Mrs Mary Mercer of Church Ma- 
field, a minister's wife in Staffordshire September the seventh 1667. 

Severall midwives were with her, and one of them, with much 
trouble, had reduced the arme, but could proceed no farther to help her. 
I was sent for. 

I soon delivered her, by the child's feet, of a dead child, con- 
trary to all her midwives expectations, and her friends, there present, 
without any tbrowes, or expulsion from the womb. 

After delivery, shee assured her midwives, that, in respect of her 
former sufferings, I had put her to no pain, but such as shee could well 
endure, and, with a chearfull, smiling countenance, shee gave first God 
thanks, afterwards shee thanked mee ; and we all thanked God for her 
good delivery, and his mercy towards her, and shee quickly recovered. 
This was the first time, that I was with her. 

I have frequently seen harsh, and unhandsome proceedings, used 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


by young midwives ; and, sometimes, the older sort of midwives have 
not been excusable of their ignorances. I have known them both 
greatly to afflict their women, through their too much officious doings, 
which hath oft made mee much to pity their labouring womens sorrow- 
full sufferings. 

Therefore, to instruct the former, and better to help the other, I 
have taken these notes, and observations, desiring to do good, and to 
help all women in distresse ; returning my thankfull acknowledgements 
to God Almighty, for his severall exceeding great mercies to mee, and 
to severall afflicted women, that I have happily delivered, with the 
preservation of their children, by the feet. 

I should rejoyce to see my work set forth more plainer, and easier, 
by the way of practice, for the delivery of women, for the helping and 
preventing a danger so great, ever dubious, alwayes attended with sorrow, 
and feare, and never free from danger. 

I am fully satisfied, in my own thoughts, concerning these ob- 
servations, and wayes; for that they bee approved by worthy men's 
opinions ; and for that, they bee also confirmed through the confessions 
of severall women, that I have delivered, as yet living in health, and 
enjoying themselves, and their children. 

And, to conclude, it is my opinion, That, in all difficult, and 
crosse births, The onely way, and the ultimum refugium to save the 
mother, and the child, is, not to reduce the birth to the head, but to 
draw it forth by the feet, winch may quickly, and easily, with safety, bee 

And severall women, that I have delivered of unnaturall, and 
difficult births, have, and will aver the same ; shewing their living 



Observations in Midwifery, by 




children to confirme my deeds ; and both mother and child, by this way, 
preserved, and snatched from the jaws of death. 

I know no cause, why their testimonies may not bee accepted, and 
bee beleeved, seing they only feel and undergo the sufferings, and dangers 
unnaturall births, and difficult labours. 

Let reason, and experience plead for the truth, against self-con- 
ceited opinions. I have not fained anything in this my practice, or 
framed any plausible, dissembling untruths, in any of these observations 
and reports. 

I onely testifie, de facto, what I have really performed, and there 
bee many living, that can, and will witness these my facts to have beene 
truly performed. And therefore I say, Veritas non queerit angulos. 

When fainting fits, in delivery, or after delivery, or in both, hap- 
pen, they shew the woman to bee in danger. And, although these 
women bee succoured with great cordials, if, after releeving, these fits 
return again, oppressing the spirits, for the most part they end in death. 

Jane, the wife of William Blood in S. Peter's parish in Darby, 
about 1641, being in labour, had fainting fits. D r Andrew Morton did 
much comfort, and releeve her with cordials, and other medicines to 
cause labour, which was slow, or very little. Shee was delivered of two 
children. Shee had these fainting fits before, and after delivery, and, 
at last, in child bed, shee died in them. 

A Gentlewoman, at Quinborrow in Leicester-shire, had fainting 
fits in her labour. Shee was delivered of a dead child. Shee much 
fainted, when the after-birth by her ignorant, fumbling midwife was 
endeavoured to bee fetched. I was compelled to help her, for feare 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


shee should have died under her hands. These fainting fits much 
weakened her spirits. Shee daily decayed by them, and, within the 
moneth of her lying in child-bed, shee died. 

Through the motion of my honoured, good friend, D r Georgius 
Bate, now deceased, I was sent for, to visit one Mrs Skink, dwelling in 
the Strand in London, Apr. the third, 1658. At my comming, I found 
with her Dr. Greaves. These worthy, good Doctors supposed, That some 
part of the uterine cake might bee left, or that somewhat was amisse in 
vagina vel ore uteri after her delivery. Upon searching, I found not any 
thing. But her body, in feeling, seemed coldish. They prescribed good 
hystericall Juleps, and cordiall electuaries, (fitting for her infirmity) to 
strengthen the vitall spirits, and for suppressing uterine vapours, and 
keeping the womb open with them. 

At the first taking of them, shee was much revived, and refreshed, 
but, within a day or two, her fainting fits returned, and would not give 
place to medicines. Within few dayes after shee died with a loosenes. 

I was with a very worthy woman, pious, and of courteous disposi- 
tion, well given, and charitable May the 13, 1667. 

Shee was well delivered by her midwife, and her sufferings, in her 
travaile, were not extreme, and the after-birth was, handsomely, without 
lacerations, fetched away. 

This young woman, from her infancy, was sometimes troubled 
with fainting fits, inclining to the epilepsy, and had some grumblings of 
them in her labour. Shee was indifferent well for three dayes. 

The fourth day, after her delivery, at her up-sitting, towards night, 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

shee began to bee ill, and, after midnight, fainting fits did much 
oppresse her. 

I did much releeve her with an hystericall cordiall, composed of 
castoreum, gum galbanum, assa fcetida, and mithridate, to which was 
added ol. succim, and composed into pils with syrup of mugwort. 

Then came, afterwards, her D r to whose care I commited her 
safety, but, whatsoever was the cause, hee would prescribe nothing with- 
out my order, and directions. 

These fainting fits did much oppresse her. They continued, 
without any intermission, sixteen houres, and every hour shee grew 
weaker, and worser. Her Physician gave her severall Hystericall Julapes, 
and cordials. 

But death was too powerful to bee opposed. Shee fell into her 
last sleep the night following, being over-powered bv her fainting fits 
May the 17. 1667. 

I cannot imagine what might induce these fainting fits, shee being 
well delivered by her midwife, as she lay in her bed, and the womb freed 
afterwards of the after-birth, and shee having fitting purgations. 

But the women have a custome to make an upsitting at the 4 th 
day, and to repel the milk by outward applications. But, whether her 
arising at the fourth day, or the repercussion of the milk might help to 
induce these fainting fits, I leave to the more judicious thoughts of the 
learned physicians. But I like not such wayes, which little ease the 
paines in the repelling of the milk. 

It is much better to draw the breasts, a small quantity at a time, 
now and then, when they swell, and begin to be painfull ; and, after- 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


wards, to use Diachylon simplex for an emplaister. 
be eased, and they freed of their milk. 

So will the paine 

Or, if the pain bee great, and the breasts much sweFd, and hard, 
then to take five parts fresh butter, and one part wine vinegar, and to 
melt them leasurely together, and to dip linen cloths into this warme 
mixture, and so to applie them to the breast, squeezing, somewhat, the 
moisture from the cloths. Thus they may bee freed of the paine, and 
trouble of the milke, without any danger. 

I knew a Lady, that constantly did keep her bed a fortnight 
after her delivery. 

And James Wolveridge M.D. a late writer in midwifery, in his 
book, speculum matricis, adviceth women to keep their bed five days, at 
the lest, after delivery. For hee saith, I know 'tis usuall for them to 
rise at three dayes end ; but this to bee sure, the longer women contain 
themselves in their bed, the more secure they are from danger fol. 124. 
And I know, by experience, that his sayings, in this case, bee found 
very true. 

The piles, caused by great straining in a hard labour, cause faint- 
ings, burnings, and shootings in Ano, and have disquieted severall 
women, depriving them of their naturall rest, and have driven them 
to sad complaints. 

When anodyne medicines would give no ease, I have cured by 
bleeding with leeches, and so have instantly freed them of their tortures, 
and have brought great easement, and refreshing, by this way, unto 
their spirits, and bodies. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 


Some women, within an houre's space after delivery, will begin to 
complain that they bee not well. 

If this paine continue, and their countenances alter, growing wan, 
and dusky, and that they, every day, grow worser, and fainter, and that 
they seem mopish, and altered in their understandings, their recovery is 
to bee feared. 

This affliction followeth many women after hard labour, and 
chiefly those, which have received bruises, or hurts in utero, vel vagina 
uteri, and they live not past a week, and usually they die about that 

In Holborn, nigh the bars, at London, a Gentlewoman was bruised 
in vagina uteri, suffering a harsh, and long labour for several! dayes. 
And, although the after-burden was wholly, without any laceration, 
drawn away, yet, by degrees, shee fainted, and, within a week, died. 
Anno 1663. 

It is not good to have the vagina uteri softish, like puffe-past, or 
dough. If, casually, at unawares, the midwife's fingers make any im- 
pression in it, either in the woman's labour, or whilest that shee 
endeavoureth to fetch the after-birth, it suddenly bringeth an alteration, 
arid decay in the woman's body, and, oft, it endeth in death. 

Thus have I known some women to perish; and the woman, 
without much paine, or complaining, will strangely fade away. 

Goodwife Jackson, of Nun-greene at Darby, being in labour ; her 
midwife, after much striving, finding, That it was past her skill to deliver 
her, desired, with other women, that I might bee sent for. 

Within an houre after her delivery, a heavy, deep sleep seized on 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


her, and shee continued so sleeping, not at all awakening, and so died, 
as the woman told mee. 

What might bee the cause of this continuance of sleeping, I 
could not learne. Whether a lethargy, or vapours ascending from the 
womb to the braine, or anything of blood, clotting in the womb. 

Anno 1633 I was at Bunny in Nottinghamshire, with a woman 
in the time of her travaile. After each labour, shee immediately fell into 
a deep sleep so soon as shee was delivered, and so continued sleeping for 
twelve houres, or longer, without any motion. 

And, by degrees, afterwards shee awaked, and came to herself, 
bat had long, afterwards, a dulnes, with mopishment seizing on her 
understanding, which happened, as was thought, upon severall, inward, 
concealed discontents. 

Vomiting in labour, and continuing after delivery, is not to bee liked. 

The wife of Mr. Eobert Ring, Apothecary in Darby, did vomit 
much in the time of her labour, and it continued after the time of her 
delivery. Being called, by her husband, unto her, medicines were used, 
which stayed it for an houre. But it returned again, and would .bee no 
more checked. Shee died, of this vomiting, within few houres after 
her delivery. 

In my thoughts, I supposed, That, through this long continued 
vomiting, there happened a convulvulus in the gut ileon, as it did to 
Goodwife Oldam. 

Mrs Elizabeth Parker begun to bee in labour January the twentieth, 
being Thursday 1669. Shee suffered much affliction, under the mid- 
wife's hands, untill Sunday morning, and then shee was delivered. Shee 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

lost much blood that day, oft flowing by pashes, and fainted. Tuesday, 
the twenty fifth, sliee vomited, and scoured. Thursday, the twenty 
seventh day, being the eighth day from the beginning of her travaile, 
shee died in the afternoone. All these passages were related to mee 
by her Mother. 

Not, upon the account of women labouring of child, yet, upon a 
suspicion of a convolvulus in a woman, not with child, nor in child-bed, 
this following prescript was used with good successe ; 

B: Mercurii vivi ^m] ol. amygd. %\s maim. $i cum posseto fact, 
ex alias ^iiij vel q. s. 1$, fiat haustus. 

Some of this Mercury came away twelve houres after, the rest at 
other times. 

I beleeve that this may prove an excellent, good medicine in this 
extreme disease, without any danger; if purging bee feared, then to 
leave forth the manna. 

Enema contra Iliacam passionem. 

R vini albi lbj butyri recentis sine sale 3 u ij ol. olivar. ^ij sem. 
anisi, carui, dauci, ammeos, carthami aa ^ii Coquantur s. a. et colentur. 
Adde mellis rosar. 3 U sacchar. rubr. ^ij salis 31 vitel. ovor. n°i, fiat en- 
ema S. A. 

Pareus fol. 291 inquit. Preestat enim, in morbis desperatis, 
anceps remedium experiri, quam nullum. 

Melius est anceps remedium experiri, quam nullum, cum multi, 
citra spem, mirabiliter sanentur. Celsus lib. 2. cap. 10. 

And, when other medicines prevaile not, why may not such meanes 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


bee used ? when that other medicines afford no relief, to save the woman's 

Scouring for the most part proves fatall, if that it happen in the 
first seven dayes. And it is much to bee feared, although it come twelve, 
or fourteen dayes after delivery. I have known it fatall to severall 
women, yet some few have recovered. 

Mrs. Hoden, of Aston, being in a consumption, and short-winded, 
through weaknes, had her neck, and body distorted. Shee desired that 
I would bee with her in the time of her labour. 

Shee was well laid by her midwife, and her child liveth. 

But, to her weaknes, after her delivery, a scouring was added, 
which took her from her relations within ten dayes following Jul. 31. 

A very good woman, a Physician's wife, lying in child-bed, was 
taken with a loosenes, about the fourth day after her delivery. And 
suddenly, in a strang manner, her breasts fell, within an houre after 
this loosenes began, being, before, much swel'd, and full of milk. 

Her husband was a learned Gentleman, and had good successe in 
his undertakings. No endeavours, waves, or means, that art could 
afford for her recovery, were left unattempted. 

But shee dayly weakened, and, being brought low, and much spent 
with scouring, after some twelve dayes affliction, shee died at the begin- 
ning of September 1664, having her senses perfect, when that shee 
could not speake, knowing every particular person, and shaking mee by 
the hand a small time before her departure. 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

Joane Smith, the wife of Thomas Smith, a currier in Darby, 
dwelling in S. Peter's Parish, was delivered, by mee, of a dead child, 
and the arme came first. I turned the birth, and delivered her by the 
child's feet July the 18. 1662 die Yen is ante meridiem. 


Her midwife had much haled, and pulled, and torne her body, on 
one side, into the fundament. 

Some three, or foure dayes, after her delivery, her belly rumbled, 
and pained her. Her Husband's mother gave her a posset, in which 
shee had mixed some common treacle. After the drinking of it, shee 
had a great losenes, with much paine in her belly, and I much feared 
her recovery. Shee took cinamon water with Diascordium, and the 
powder of acornes with their husks ; also white pepper boiled with milk. 
Also shee had tins medicine ; 

Of the inward green bark of an oake a handfull ; cinamon two 
penyworth ; almonds blanched an handfull beaten ; 

All these were boiled in three pints of new milk to half, and 
sweetened with hard sugar, or boile the sugar with the milk ; of which 
shee tooke half a pint at a time, warmed ; which medicine was given to 
her by her friends, and the women about her. 

But none of these stayed it. 
following medicine, a little warmed ; 

At last was given to her this 

Take Spanish white half an ounce ; fine wheat flower an ounce ; 
good cinamon in the stick, broken, and bruised, two drachmes; new 
milk, a pint, and a half; hard loaf sugar as much, as will sweeten it to 
the patient's tast, or desire. Or, in a pint of milk you may boile the 
sugar, and cinamon to one half. In the other half pint of milk blend 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


the Spanish white, and the wheat floure, and, being well mixt, put it 
into the milk as it stands on the fire, and so boile it leasurely, ever 
stirring it, untill it come to bee as thick as a custard. 

Of this shee took a good mess, or porringer-full at pleasure. 
Shee said, that it was good, and did much comfort her. It stayed her 
loosenes at the first taking, and freed her of her paines. Shee had 
it made without sugar. 

We anointed her belly with oile of charity to her groine ; where 
the paine was fixt was laid emplastrum Saponis spread on leather ; and 
to the fissure, or rift of the fundament was used Balsamum Lucatellse. 

Thus, with God's mercifull permission, shee was again recovered. 

This poor woman could not sleep. There were prepared two 
good red nutmegs, full of sap. They were grated, and, afterwards, mixed 
with the yolke of two new laid egges, well beaten, to which mixture was 
added half a spoonfull of salt, and so made into a salve. This was 
spread betweene two thin linen cloths, and so laid all over her forehead, 
and downe to her temples. . And this, applied warme, caused her to 
sleep quietly, and was a great help to her recovery. 

After all these afflictions, upon a bruise, which shee received, 
within a moneth, shee suffered much paine on the left side of her belly, 
and had there an impostume, which came to suppuration, and was 
afterwards cured. Shee recovered all her sufferings, and is now living, 
and in good health June 6. 1671. 

Yet all do not recover. For I had a kinswoman, lying in child- 
bed, who had an impostume in her groin, that came to suppuration. 
Out of it issued some corruption, with some excrements of her bowels. 

dd % 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

Severall applications were used for her recovery, but they did not 
prevaile, for a while shee languished, and so died. 

A poor Collier's wife in Cosall March, in Nottinghamshire in Sep- 
tember 1666, was taken with a loosen es in her lying in child-bed. It 
was stayed with Spanish white, and wheat floure, made, as afore 
directed. Shee could not sleep. I gave her a nights (as occasion re- 
quired) pil. pacifica, upon which shee took good rest, and so recovered. 

Afterwards, shee had an impostume, which brake in her ham, the 
which, with fit applications, was cured, and shee recovered. 

December the twelfth 1670 Jane, the wife of Ralph Spencer, a 
weaver, having a quartane ague, was delivered by her midwife, of a 
female infant, that lived some six, or seven weeks, and then died. 

Foure dayes after her delivery a scouring came upon her, and 
continued three dayes, before any body came to mee, to desire my help. 

I caused a pint of milk to bee divided into two equall parts. In 
one part I mixed a spoon-full and an half of fine wheat floure, and a 
spoon-full of shaven chalk. 

The other part I did set on a gentle fire, to seeth. When it 
boiled up, I put into it that part of milk, which had the floure and 
chalk, Avell mixed with it, and stirred together well as they boiled, untill 
it came to bee thick. Then was some butter, and a little nutmeg grated 
added to it, of which shee took as oft as shee pleased. 

I gave her the chalk pap, of which shee took as shee pleased. 
And for that shee was thirsty, and coveted drink, shee had black 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


pepper boiled whole in milk, of which shee took severall times warmed, 
with some whole corns of the pepper first and last. 

By these two medicines, within two dayes, her loosenes was 
stopped, and her thirst was taken away. 

After her loseues was stayed, the next day her left leg began to 
swell, and, the swelling did increase to a very great bignes. It became 
very painfull, and cold. It was like a blowen bladder, and glistened. 
I was afraid of a mortification. I caused a mild lee of wood ashes to bee 
made. In the cleare of it, three pints, was boiled a handfull of dried 
wormwood, with as much of elder bark ; and, in the boiling, was added 
to it a lump of alum, the quantity of a hen's egge, and a spoonfull of 

With this liquour, very hot made, her leg was fomented, with 
thick stuphs dipped in it, and wrung hard forth, and applied to her leg. 

And, when they began to bee cold, they were taken away, and hot 
ones again applied. Thus was it fomented for half an houre. Then 
was a hot stuph, (after the moisture was squeezed forth) applied round 
her leg, and rouled on, and so was shee dressed every foure, or six 
houres. Shee did find much ease, and comfort by the fomentation, and 
the swelling abated. 

When the swelling was nigh half abated, a great blister, or two 
did arise between the calf of her leg, and her ancle, the which did break, 
and out of her legs did run much clear water, which also was cured by 
the fomentation. 

Shee lay in a moist, cold house, and the walls were full of great 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

And that night, these blisters did arise, her leg was very cold, and 
full of ach. Shee was anointed with blast salve, and an ordinary em- 
plaister was laid over the sores. 

Shee was long afflicted with a quartane ague, before shee was 
delivered, and, it continued severall moneths, after her delivery, and her 
leg not quite fallen, and the sore did run a little, but it no way troubled 
her. In the morning the swelling was fallen, but, at night, the swelling 
did somewhat return. Yet, at the last, shee was perfectly recovered of 
her swellings, and of her quartane ague. 

Concerning excoriations, and retention of the part of the after- 
birth, with the danger of it, and of the false conception, or mole, see 
D r Harvey in these words of the birth. 

It often befalls women (especially the more tender sort) that the 
after purgings, being corrupted, and grown noisome within, do call in 
fevers, and other grievous symptomes. 

For the womb being excoriated by the separation of the after- 
burden (especially if the separation was violent) like a larg, inward 
ulcer, is cleansed, and mundified by the liberall emanations of the after- 

And, hereupon, we conclude of the welfare, or danger of a woman 
in childbed, according to her excretions. 

If any part of the after-burden bee left sticking to the uterus A the 
after -purgings will flow forth evil sented, greene, and as if they pro- 
ceeded from a dead body, and, sometimes, the courage, and strength of 
the womb being quite vanquished, a sudden gangrene doth induce a 
certain death. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Or, if it bee rent from the sides of the womb, corruption of 
blood may follow, and so may come inflammation, an abscesse, or a 
mortall gangrene. 

As I have had experience in a woman, which, lying very sick of 
a malignant fever, and being very weake, did suffer an abortion ; who, 
after the exclusion of the foetus, which was incorrupt, and entire, yet 
lay exceeding weak, with a disorderly pulse, in a cold sweat, as if shee 
were a dying. 

I perceived the orifice of the womb was lax, soft, and very open, 
and her after purgings something noisome. Whereupon I suspected, 
That something did lurk in her womb, which did putrefy. And, putting 
in my hand, I extracted a false conception, as big as a goose egge } 
which was made of a most thick, nervous, and, almost, gristly substance, 
having some perforations in it, whereout did issue a viscid, putrefied 
matter, and immediately, upon this, shee was discharged of those griev- 
ous symptoms, and suddenly, after, did perfectly recover. 

D r Primrose saith fol. 307 Mulierem, tamen, novi, quee, post 
partum unius fcetus, per duos menses, gravissimis conflictata est symp- 
tomatis, nee ulla spes vitas adesset. Exclusit alterius foetus cadaver, in 
saniem tetram, et virulentam conversum, cum, tamen, nihil tale medici 
suspicarentur, et convaluit, atq. ter, postea, feliciter peperit. fol. 307. 

For bruises aud excoriations. 

Goodwife Bayly, about the year 1633, had a perverse, peevish, 
ignorant midwife. Shee violently pulled, and haled her body a long 
time. Being sent for, tins midwife much disliked of my comming, and 
still shee proceeded her own wayes. But, at last, finding her expecta- 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

tion to faile, shee was contented, That I should take her in hand. But 
I then refused, untill I had the opinions of two divines, Mr. Eyre, and 
Mr. Wyarsdale, ministers in Darby. And, although I beleeved that, 
through the midwife's usage, the infant was destroyed ; yet I would not 
draw it with the crochet, before I had their opinions ; whether, in case 
of necessity, and danger, to save the woman's life, I might, with a safe 
conscience, do it, and not bee guilty of the child's death. They viewed 
the distressed woman, and, after some conference with her, without any 
debate it was concluded by these Divines in the affirmative part, That I 
might lawfully do it, although the child should bee alive, to save the 
woman's life. 

It being so concluded, I placed the woman, for her own ease, 
sitting in a woman's lap before her 

Then came her midwife, and desired to bee placed next unto mee, 
in hopes, to have seen what I did. Shee had her desire, but saw nothing 
of the work, by reason that her coates covered my armes, and the 
woman's body, all the time of the operation ; for that I was willing to 
keep her in ' sufficient ignorance ; first, to qualifie her lofty pride ; 
secondly not to encourage her in her evil wayes of using pothooks, or 
pot ladles, with which shee, formerly, had made ill work ; together with 
her nailes, having set deep scratches on the faces, and bodies of severall 
infants. I quickly drew the infant, that was dead. 

Afterwards, this woman seemed to recover. But, after a week's 
time, severall corrupted skins, hanging at the labia vulvas, separated 
from her body, and came away. After tins, shee altered in her, counten- 
ance, and, sitting, or lying in a mopish condition, not minding, or 
regarding any thing, nor taking notice of any person, or what was said, 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


or done unto her ; with daily fading insensibly, after a moneth's linger- 
ing, shee died. 

John Besecht's daughter, dwelling in the Morlage in Darby, being 
hardly used, by her midwife, in labour, through haling, stretching the 
birthplace, had severall large skins, very stinking, comming, and 
separating from the vagina uteri. 

I oft injected with new milk, boiled, and cooled againe, and 
tinctured with saffron lightly, and sweetened with honey of roses, a little 
warmed, when it was used. And it pleased God shee recovered, beyond 
expectation. Shee was ever sensible, and nothing, otherwise, altered in 
mind, or body. 

Goodwife Rag, after her sufferings, was long weak, and much 
enfeebled in the retentive power of holding her water, and could not 
retain it, but it came dribling from her, both day, and night. Also, 
severall skins, enfolding much gravel, and sandy, small stones shee 
voided, yet, at last, shee recovered. 

I have observed, where skins, and such like filth, in childbed, 
come away, that all such women bee in danger of death, and that 
severall perish through such sufferings, though some, with difncultnes, 
bee cured. 

But I never knew any woman, where the livery colour of their 
faces altered, and became swarthy, especially where the woman did be- 
come mopish, little regarding any person, or-what was said, or done to 
her, but that all such perished. 

I was desired, and sent for by a Lady, Anno 1640, that, in her 





Observations in Midwifery, by 

The Lady travaile, was disquieted with some unusuall, and inward paines in the 
birth-place, and would not endure to put down her throwes. 

The head came first. But the ignorant midwife, not knowing 
how to assist her, let the child stick at the neck, and shoulders, after 
that the head was in the world. 

The Ladie's paines were augmented. Shee called mee to help her, 
but the midwife would have had mee put by, and said, That my Lady 
must stay God's time, and pleasure. I put the midwife aside, and find- 
ing the child's head in the world, I assured her, that shee was but 
ignorant in midwifery. 

I slid my finger under the child's arme-pit, and, nudging the 
child on one side, and drawing withall, the Lady was immediately de- 

Shee was well for three, or foure dayes. Then shee began to bee 
sorely pained, and to have an ill, and unsavoury smell iu her privy parts, 
and could not hold her water. 

Small, ' greety stones, in the time of her travailing, were fallen 
downe into the neck of her bladder, before the child had entered the 
bones. These stones were the cause of the augmenting of her sufferings. 
And the child's head and body, as it passed, pressed on these stones. 
The vagina uteri was hurt, and bruised. Sorenes followed in the flesh, 
and a large piece rotted, and separated in the neck of the bladder, and 
the stones came away wrapped in the flesh, and skins. 

Shee recovered, in part, after long time, with some sufferings ; 
and had many children after tins mishap, but never, afterwards, could 
hold her water. I was all the time with her, during her cure, and I 

greatly pitied her good Husband &c. 
chirurgion lib. 2. ch. 9. fol. 115. 

See Guillhneau the French 

I was desired to visit a woman at long Eaton Anno 1634, about 
a quarter of a yeare after her lying in child-bed. Shee was troubled 
with much pain m her back, and flanks. Shee found ease by what was 
administered for the present, but, after a little intermission of time, her 
disquiets returned again, and shee became worser. 

And for that her closiers were stained with such humour, as mid- 
wives call oake-water, and for that it had a stinking, suffocating sent, I 
imagined, that some evil might lurke about those places, in, or nigh the 

Upon searching, I found severall tumours in vagina uteri, as great 
as small beanes, following one another, as though they had been beads 
stringed for a bracelet. These cancerous tumours tormented her. I 
intended to have used a decoction of china, with sarsaperilla &c. with 
some injections. But shee grew a weary of mee, and committed her 
self to a new runnagate D r , that greatly boasted of his cures, and 
abilities. Hee was found, at last, to bee a fugitive, broken butcher, that 
could neither read, or write, and, under his cure, uncured, Shee died 
cancerous in her body. 

There came a Gentlewoman unto mee, complaining of great paine, 
and distemperatures of the womb. I gave her the best counsell that I 
could, but shee had no ease by the prescriptions. Shee intreated mee to 
search her body, whether, in it, might bee perceived any thing to bee 
amisse. Anno 1668. 

By my finger, I found a great, larg tumour, spreading over a great 







Observations in Midwifery, by 

of Staf- 

part of the outside of the womb, and I feared, that it might, at last, 
prove cancerous, for that it was hard, and scirrhous, and had frequent 
shootings, and stinges in it. 

I told her then, That I was doubtfull what, in time, might happen ; 
yet, to allay her feares, and to mitigate her present sufferings, I would 
use my best endeavours ; and, withall, desired her, in this doubtfull case, 
to see, if that shee could get, from any other, better hopes of cure. 

It was her good hap to bee a patient to a learned, and most 
judicious Doctor in physic. And hee, with his golden turpeth, did ease 
her. But shee would not bee ruled to follow his directions. After her 
delivery, the tumours, and paines increased again, and hindered her 
going to the stoole, and the making of water, through the greatnes of 
the inward swellings, and so, with much affliction, shee died. 

The womb is a principall part, which doth draw the whole body 
into consent with it. 

I was sent for to visit a good woman, that had miscarried, after 
that shee was gone two moneths with child. 

Shee was troubled with some unusual! paines in the womb, and 
had, there, sores, and swellings, from whence ill sented humours issued. 

Her Physician, in my judgement, had taken the onely way to cure 
her, and such a way, as I should have adviced her, and all other women, 
in her condition, to follow ; and, by it, from the part afflicted, had made 
a diversion of the violent force of humours, and had asswaged the 
raging tortures of her paines. 

But the evil, being fixed in the womb, would not be wholly re- 
moved, but recalled again the humours of the place affected, and, by 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


degrees, the cancerous ulcer grew violent, and, with shooting, and sting- 
ing pains, accompanied with noisome emanations, her dayes, at last, 
were terminated; and, after her miscarriage some 6 months, shee died. 

I was with an Honorable Lady 1632, and a learned D r of 
Physick did attend her Honour. Shee, oft, violently flouded, and was 
let blood, to turne the streame. Shee had pessaries made of hog's dung, 
with bole Armeniack, and alume, and mixed together with whites of 
egges. For better help, shee went to London, in hopes, to have the 
best relief, that art could afford. 

The womb proved cancerous. At last, without any helpe, more 
then some mitigation of her paines, of this infirmity shee died. 

A woman in Darby, upon a fright, did fall into flouding per 
uterum. Shee did not, for severall moneths, regard this flux. But, at 
last, shee sent for mee, and desired my help. I found a hard scirrhous 
tumour, occasioned by this flux, seized on the one side of the womb, 
and on some part of the vagina uteri, which hindered the free passage 
of the water. 

Her case was sent unto the learned Doctours at London, and to 
the most expert chirurgions of that place. 

Some appointed traumatical! decoctions, and mercurius dulcis to 
bee given. 

But this scirrhous tumour dayly increased, very much stopping 
her water, and her going to stoole, by straitening the passages ; and, of 
this affliction, at last, shee died. 

This affliction frequently happeneth, when the women bee past 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

forty jrears aged, growing towards fifty, and this fiouding, being neglected 
i7i the beginning, oft breedeth an nncnrable cancer. 

Hippocr. Aphor. lib. 6. ap. 40. 

Cancros occultos melius est omnes non curare ; curati enim citb 
pereunt, non curati autem longius tempus perdurant. 

There came to mee to Darby a woman, dwelling nigh Lichfield in 
Staffordshire, that had a cancerous ulcer in her womb. 

Shee told mee many good morrows, and stories of women, that 
had such infirmities, and how severall of them were eased by salivation. 

For her cure, I desired a D r in physic, my good friend, to let mee 
have his counsell. Hee put mee in mind of the Aphorisme, and willed 
mee to use traumaticall decoctions, and, sometimes, to divert the humour 
by salivation with mercurius dulcis, giving it once, or twice a weeke. 

I gave it, mixed with conserve of roses in a spoonfull of posset 
drink. The mercury spotted the silver spoone, and so shee found what 
it was. It vomited, and purged her, and, I beleeve, would have raised 
a flux, if that shee would have continued the taking of it. 

But shee was discontented with the working of it. So shee left 
mee, and took one, that had been lately a Divine, and was now become 
a practicer in physic. 

And hee gloried much, that, by his medicines, hee had driven 
forth two cancers out of her body. It should seem to mee, by the re- 
lation of those, from whom I had the information, That shee twice 
flouded, and, at each time, avoided clotters of blood, which his ignorance 
falsely conceived to bee the cancers. 

Percivall Wiliughby, Gentleman. 


JBut, at last, shee went away from Darby, and made use of the 
utmost of her strength, to make some beleeve, That shee was cured. 

In the conclusion, shee, and her physician disagreed ; and hee was 
so vexed, that, in his passion, hee threatened to send her a letter that 
should twist her ears together. 

What hee did, I know not ; but I am sure, that shee was made 
in a worser condition by him. Shee became ill, and weak, her paines 
every day increased, and her body smelt unsavourily, and her linens 
were stained with the humours, and did so loathsomely smell, that those, 
which were attending about her, did very unwillingly wash them. Yet 
this ignorant, confident upstart was not ashamed to report, That this 
woman was cured by hiin. 

In her extremity, shee put herself under a third Physician. Ex- 
tremity of paine made her willing to bee fluxed. Hee salivated her, 
and, in the salivation, shee died. 

A worthy, good "Lady, having been formerly troubled with a flux 
of blood, which came by pashes in her child-bed, desired mee to come to 
her. I made no delay to go, but shee was delivered before my comming. 
Her infirmity did adhere to her body, yet not in a violent way. So, 
after a week's staying with her, perceiving some amendment, I returned, 
leaving her to follow the directions of her former physicians, but they 
did not cure her. 

Shee went to London, and returned not cured, and brought with 
her this direction from a woman, that had been formerly, so afflicted, as 
this Lady was. 

R red wine, good Alicant, and plantane water, of each half a 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

pint, two or three ounces of double refined sugar. Boile all these to- 
gether very well. Of which shee took every morning fasting, and at 
foure in the afternoone, and at night going into bed, two, or three 
spoonfulls blood warme. 

After shee had taken these things, if that the whites should 
trouble her, then to take tins following. 

B new milk a quart, of comfry, and yarrow, and shepheard's 
pouch, of each an handfull, of clary six handfulls. Boile these herbs in 
the milk, unti'll it come to a pint ; then drink every morning before shee 
did rise, and at night, after shee was in bed, half a pottinger full thereof, 
blood-warme, or warmer, if shee pleased. 

Dr Wea- 

Shee was visited, a yeare, or two afterwards, by one of her London 
physicians, a man of excellent parts, and full of much practice. Hee 
adviced her to take the inward bark of an oake, and to bruise it, and to 
distill it three times. And, in a wine glassfull of this water, to put as 
much of the powder of lapis hoematites, as would lie on a groat, and 
the like quantity of terra sigillata. Yet shee was not helped by these 
medicines, but had a perpetuall dropping, or mensium fluor issuing from 
her body. 

I came, casually, to her house, and shee intreated mee to stay 
with her. I gave her this drink of Lodovicus Septalius. 

Ii aquae lib. vii in qua, coque cortices trium aurantiorum acidorum, 
aliquantulum subviridium; colaturse 5 vu j P ro dosi. The rinds were 
cut in small pieces, and, at the end of the boiling, I added of mouseare 
a handfull. It stopt the flux for a week ; and, in all her broths, I boiled 
the same herb. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. * 


After a while, the flux returned again, and, after three, or foure 
yeares continuance, it terminated her dayes. 

A London chirurgion was sent to her ; it was his opinion, That 
shee had a cancer in the inner part of the womb. I cannot contradict 
his sayings, (yet shee had no evil-senting fluxes, or tumours to be felt) 
for that I beleeve, and have known long, dribling, uterine fluxes, very 
oft, to have ended in cancerous tumours. 

I would I could bring all midwives to observe nature's wayes, not 
onely in some creatures, but also in vegetable plants, and trees, how shee 
proceedeth in her works, and how shee ripeneth all vegetables, and pro- 
duceth all creatures, with far greater ease, and speed, then art can do, 
which is but nature's handmaid, and servant. 

Prom Shiston, in Warwickshire, a woman, great with child, after 
some jouruey, came to Tamworth market, about the middle of December, 
Anno 1667. After her markets were ended, as shee did ride homewards, 
by a Park pale, in the highway, Dame nature willed her to alight, and 
to tie her horse to the pale. Shee went into the park at Middleton, in 
which place shee was speedily delivered of a living child. 

The woman took up the child, and laid the after-burden on the 
child's head, and, getting again on her horse back, shee went unto a 
friend's house, and carried her child in her lap, about a mile distant from 
that place, and there, some say, that shee stayed all that night ; And 
that, the next morning, her husband came unto her, and brought her, 
and her child home safely, to his house. Shee, and the child bee living, 
and in health Anno 1671. 

Dorothy Launt of Newbrough in Stafford-shire, being great 
with child, adventured to go from her own house, on foot, three miles, 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

to a market town called Uttoxeter, by some Utceter, about the latter end 
of September 1666. 

Returning home with her husband, and with a woman, that un- 
derstood nothing in midwifery, being nigh two miles from her house, 
shee was suddenly surprized with pangs of labour. 

Dame nature was at hand, and, in a lane, nigh Uttoxeter wood, 
shee was there delivered of a lusty living son, as shee kneeled on a bank 
by the side of a ditch, and there the after-burden came well from her. 

This assisting woman, afterwards setting her on her horse, brought 
her to her husband's house, where shee well recovered her strength. 
Her child lived, and was baptized, and named Walter, and is now about 
foure yeares old Anno 1669. 

Shee conceived again, and was, in due time, delivered of another 
son by her midwife, October the sixteenth, 1670, being in her owne 

So soon as shee was delivered, shee swooned, (so that the midwife 
durst not adventure to fetch away the after-birth) and continued fainting, 
and swooning the space of an houre, although the woman burnt feathers 
under her nose. 

After this time, shee came, a very little space, unto her self, and 
immediately fell into a deep sleep. 

With much shaking, now and then, shee would speak a word or 
two, ever desiring them to let her bee quiet, and to suffer her to sleep. 

Shee continued sleeping foure houres, after this time shee awaked, 
and, seing two of her acquaintance standing by the bed-side, said, Ah 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Mary ! Ah Anne ! and, laying down her head, as though shee would 
sleep againe, shee departed, having still the after-birth in her body. 

Her sister, Goodwife Wetton, came to mee to know what might 
bee done, to cause the after-burden to come away. I gave her the best 
counsell I could, but the woman was dead before shee could come again 
unto her. 

Her sister told mee, That shee avoided much moisture, with blood, 
in her swooning, and sleeping ; so did another, that, afterwards, washed 
the cloths. Shee died October the sixteenth, her son was baptized the 
seventeenth day, and named Robert, and, that day, shee was buried. 

Margery Philips of Newbrough in Staffordshire December 29 die 
Mercurii 1669. 

After delivery, a fattish piece of flesh, as long, and thick, as the 
midwife's hand, comming from the womb, the which the midwife said, 
that shee put up againe, so shee told mee, but I did not see it. 

Shee flouded, and that made the midwife desist from farther stri- 
ving, to get away the after-birth, and the midwife said, That the after- 
birth did stick to the side of the woman. 

So shee put her to bed, without shifting her cloths. The midwife 
came to mee, about half an houre past two in the afternoone. I went 
with her, and offered my service to this woman. But shee desired not 
to bee stirred, for that, upon any motion, shee fainted. And I thought, 
standing by her, that shee had been dying, and I was glad that shee did 
not make use of my help, for fear shee should have died, under my 
hands, in this weaknes. 

The midwife shifted her cloths about five that night, and shee did 

fp 2 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

eat, then, some bread and cheese, but continued losing blood, as the 
midwife reported. Shee was delivered by the cocks first crowing in the 
morning. Shee died about eight that night. But the after-burden 
never came from her. The child lived about half a year, and then died. 

But, upon a second discourse, I found this midwife to bee an ig- 
norant, simple woman, and I suspected, That shee was cause of this 
woman's flouding, as also of her death, through much strugling in her 

In morbis desperatis, sedulam diligentiani, extremumque remedium 
adibendum esse, vulgi calumnia relicta, medicique famap ost posita. 
Medicus, si mortis prsedixerit pericula, culpa vacabit. 

This was the second woman, that died at Newbrough, whilest 
that I waited on the Lady Grisell Egerton, not having the after-birth 
drawn away. They both went to their graves, with their after-burdens 
in their bodies. 

Have not some women been laid, and the after-burden fetched 
away, whilest that they had convulsion on them, and that they have re- 
covered ? 

It is, in my thoughts, much better to fetch away the after-birth, 
so soon as the woman is delivered (let the woman bee in what condition 
shee will) then to leave it in the woman's body. So may flouding, and 
issues of moisture cease. But, where the after-birth is retained, these 
fluxes never cease. 

I never had any woman under my hand thus afflicted. 

But I have heard, That the after-birth hath been fetched away, 
although the woman did floud before, or in the operation. And so their 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


lives have been saved. But, where it came not away, through the flux, 
or flouding, they all perished. 

A kinswoman having miscarried, the midwife could not get away 
the after-burden, which was the cause, that shee oft flouded in a larg 
quantity ; my assistance was desired. 

By reason of the closing of her body, and the lying on her back, 
I could not well come to the after-burden, to get it away ; some part 
remained in her body. Yet shee flouded no more, and, after a good 
night's sleep, the other part of the after-burden came away, when that 
shee made water, and dropped into the chamber-pot, and shee well 
recovered her strength. 

The after-birth is more easier, and better fetched away, as the 
woman kneeleth, then it can bee as shee lyeth on her back. 

Therefore I would have the midwives to cause their women to 
kneele, when that they fetch the after-burden. 

Francis Hallowes, the usher of Ashburn Schole; Margaret his 
wife, being aged about 30 years, having had nine children, a fortnight 
before shee travailed, having a tertian ague, shee miscarried of the tenth 
child, about the thirteenth week of her being with child, in the morning, 
about five of the clock. 

Some foure houres after her miscarrying (being a fat woman) shee 
fell into a loosenes, and died the next morning, about the houre, in 
which shee was delivered. 

After her death, the scouring immediately ceased, and shee then 
did swell so much in her belly, and breasts, as they, that stood at her 
feet, as shee lay on the table, could not see her face ; and shee bled 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

much at the mouth, and nose, and, withall, flouded all that day. And 
the flouding continued with her in the grave, at nine that night. Apr. 
28. 1671. 

Thus Mrs. Mary Mercer, that was her kinswoman, related, of a 
truth, unto mee, who was with her in her labour all the time, continued 
with her both in life, and death, and at her buriall. 

I left Stafford, and went to London, there to live, for the better 
education of my children, in May 1656. 

And, by reason of an Apothecary, that, formerly, had lived in 
Stafford, I quickly had some practice in midwifery, among the meaner 
sort of women ; 

And, through his meanes, was called to a woman, that had three 
children at a birth, and the midwife had brought away all the after- 
burdens. The midwife feared, afterwards, that there was still a fourth 
child remaining in the womb, for that shee felt a great hard lump in the 
woman's belly, and this was the cause, why I was sent for. 

The tumour was as big as a penny loaf. Finding the woman apt 
to faint, I caused a large emplaister of crude Galbanum to bee laid upon 
her navell. Her paines were eased, her swelling was discussed, shee 
soon recovered again her strength. 

The children lived but a small time, they all died that day. 

It is not good to draw away the after-burdens, before all the 
children bee born, for feare of a flux of blood, that might follow in the 
ensuing birth. Yet I have known severall women to have escaped this 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Not long after, I was called into "White Friars, to a poor woman, 
that was in travaile, to assist M rs Wharton, a good midwife. Shee was 
understanding in her calling, and was of a friendly, and courteous 

This woman had been long in labour. The child's head, and 
body were larg, and the child's head was somewhat entered into the 

Finding that the child was dead, I drew it with the crochet, and 
the woman soon recovered, 

A great person in Ireland, having the bones of the genital parts 
ovally, by infirmity, pressed together, after the losse of severaU children, 
drawn from her body by the chirurgions, was put in hopes to have 
better success, if that shee could obtain a London midwife to come unto 

There was a midwife procured, that went unto her. This mid- 
wife had long practiced midwifery, and, to my knowledg, had a good 
understanding in her calling, and her practice had been oft crowned with 
happy success. This Lady procured this midwife to come unto her, 
into Ireland. 

After that shee had been some time with her, labour came upon 
the Lady. ISTo conveniences to facilitate the birth were omitted, and 
the midwife used all her endeavours to bring forth a living child, with- 
out any violence offered unto it, or to the mother. 

But it pleased God, not to permit this Lady to have her desires, 
nor to give his blessing to this midwife's hands, as to let this Lady bee 
delivered by her. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 


A chirurgion was sent for, who, as formerly, with the crochet 
drew away a living child from this Lathe's body, to save her life. 

Had I been in his place, I would have seen what, first, might 
have been done with the hand, before I would have used the instrument. 

At this midwife's return, I went to visit her at her house, and 
there shee related all these passages to mee. And, as I was sorrowfull 
for this Ladie's ill hap : so I was joyfull to see this midwife safely 
returned again to London. 

I was sent for to a Gentlewoman, that had formerly suffered hard 
labour. Shee was delivered of a small abortive, before I came unto 
her, by the midwife ; and the child, being very small, the midwife had 
drawn it away by the arme. 

As I was sitting, and talking with one of her servants, that 
attended her eldest child, then a little one, as it played before us, I 
espied in the child's forhead a long dawk, deeply dented, even to her 
nose. I asked the servant maid how the child came by it. Shee replied, 
that it was so borne; whereupon I conjectured that, through this 
woman's hard, long labour, as also by the dawk in the child's forehead, 
that the ill conformation of the bones was, or might bee the cause of 
her sufferings, before shee, usually, was delivered. 

There goeth a report of two ingenious persons, the man and his 
wife ; Hee, taking notice of the midwife's violent halings, and stretch- 
ings of his wife's body, as also of the great torments, that, thereupon, 
did arise ; and his wife, being terrified with the feeling of them, and 
fearing to suffer the like again; and also, hearing, how some, that would 
not owne their great bellies, how easily, and speedilj they were delivered, 
without the help of midwives ; They concluded, to make trial! of their 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


way, and having found it good, and prosperous, they resolved never more 
to make use of the midwife's assistance. 

And, ever since, the woman, so soon as shee perceiveth her labour 
approaching, shee causeth a fire to bee made in her chamber, and, her 
bed being prepared, her husband bringeth her into the chamber, and, 
after the taking of their leaves one of the other, hee, with her desire, 
and consent, locketh her in the roome, and commeth no more unto her, 
untill shee knocketh, which is the signe of her delivery to him, and to 
such women, as bee in the house, and this report is affirmed for a truth. 

Such a story hath been told mee of Mr. Jennings (so I take the 
great Apothecary in Newark to bee called) and his wife. 

And I am perswaded, in my thoughts, that, if all women would 
follow the same course, that they would bee more easily delivered, and 
more children born alive. 

All, that ever I would have the midwife to do, is but to receive 
the child, when it commeth into the world, or to alter an unnaturall 

A weaver's wife at Wossall, in Staffordshire, about the yeare 1654, 
came unto mee, complaining of much pain in her back, and heat about 
the outward parts of her body. 

Shee said, That this happened after a hard labour, and that many 
skins, and lumps of flesh came from her body, after her delivery. 

The outward passages of her body were, all along, closed up; 
there was onely a little small orifice left open, by which her urine passed. 

Shee said that her womb did rot, and fall forth out of her body. 

gg ~ ~ 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

I gave her a decoction of persly, Germander, and pennyroyall, 
with such like herbs, and shee had a flowing of the menses, upon the 
taking of it. 

Whereupon, I beleeve that the womb was not rotted forth, but 
that the labia vulvae were joined together, after the cicatrizing of the 
ulcer. Shee was troubled- with much inflammation, and had a whitish, 
sordid matter, which continually issued from her ; and it did much in- 
flame, and moisten those parts ; and the humour had a raw, faintish 
savour. Shee was eased with refrigerating applications, as ung. alb. 
camphoratum, and what became of her, after that I went to London 
1656, I know not. 

Guillimeau giveth this report, That hee was sent for by Mad. 
Searon, to help a farmer's wife, that was great with child, and ready to 
lie down, who had the outward orifice of her womb, for the space of 
foure or five yeares, so perfectly closed, glued, and joined together, that 
it was impossible to put a little probe therein ; the which had happened 
to her by being ill delivered ; by meanes whereof, the entrance of the 
outward neck of the womb had been ulcerated, and the ulcers cicatrized, 
and the sides of the vagina joined together, and yet, for all this, shee 
proved with child. 

At the time of her delivery, by the advice and counsell of Mr. 
Riolan and Charles, the Kings Professors in Physiclc, and Regent Doctor 
in the faculty of Physiclc at Paris, Brunei, Paradis Riolan, Fremin, 
Rabigois, and Serre (Queen Marguerite's chirurgion) Mitton, and Chaf- 
priet, Mr Barber chirurgions at Paris, Honore the King's chirurgion, 
and my self, I say, by the advice of all these several! physicians, and 
chirurgions, there was an incision made. Then, presently, the speculum 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


dilatorium was so well applied, that all tlie cicatrices were enlarged, 
which succeeded so prosperously, that, within three houres after, shee 
was delivered with much ease. 

D r . Harvey knew a woman, who had all the interiour part of the 
neck of her womb excoriated, and torne by a difficult, and painfull de- 
livery, so that, her time of lying in being over, though shee proved with 
child again afterwards ; yet, not onely the sides of the orifice of the 
neck of the womb, near the nymphse, did close together, but also all the 
whole cavity thereof, even to the inner orifice of the matrix, whereby 
there was no entrance, even for a small probe, nor yet any egresse to 
her usuall fluxes. 

Hereupon, the time of her delivery being now arrived, the poore 
soule was lamentably tortured, and, laying aside all expectation of being 
delivered, shee resigned up her keyes to her husband, and, setting her 
affaires in order, shee took leave of all her friends. 

When, behold ! beyond expectation, by the strong contest of a 
very lusty infant, the whole tract was forced open, and shee was miracu- 
lously delivered ; the lusty child proving the auctor of his own, and his 
parent's life, leaving the passage open for the rest of his brethren, who 
should bee born in time to come. For, proper applications being admin- 
istered, his mother was restored to her former health. Should ever such 
an accident come to my hands again, as happened to the woman at 
Wossall, I should not feare to open those places ; for that Guilhmeau, 
and D r . Harvey have declared such things to bee done. 

In the mean time, I shall admire the forcible vigour, and efficacy 
of a mature, and lively fcetus. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

It hath been questioned, whether the womb, closed in a woman 
with child, can, by outward enforcements, bee opened. Upon the com- 
munication, and assured faith of a reall, true friend, I am confident, that 
such a thing was done, and that it might bee done againe. 

Comming from Gloucester, in my returning homeward to Darby, 
I met with a good friend, a D r . of Physick, and a practicer in midwifery. 

Hee certified mee, that hee was intreated, by a Gentlewoman, to 
afford her his help, and assistance ; for that shee knew, that there was a 
false conception in her womb, which would bee her ruine, unles, by his 
skill, hee could open the womb, and take it forth. 

Hee was overperswaded by her, giving credence unto her words, and 
being intreated to try his skil, and to use the utmost of his endeavours, 
to performe this work ; hee slid up his hands, and forced the orifice of 
the womb with his finger end, moving, and thrusting it gently, for a 
reasonable space, against the orifice of the womb. 

After some time, by these wayes, and her enforcements, the womb 
was opened, and, forthwith, the waters flowed ; and, within a short space 
after, the birth of a child followed. 

At the sight thereof hee was much troubled (hee told it to mee 
with a great deale of sorrow) and said unto her, thai^ hee was displeased 
with her evil doings. 

But shee made slight of bis rebukes, and words. 

Although shee then recovered her strength, yet, in some yeares 
after, (following her ill courses of life, and putting herself under the 
practice of other physicians, to cover her lewdnesses, they not knowing 
of each others doings) 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 

245 took violent purges from the first physician, and, within an 
houre after, from another physician very great cordials, hoping to cover 
her lewd misdeeds. 

By physick, at last, shee perished. This communication, severall 
yeares after, was communicated again to mee by this D r . of physick, my 
worthy, and good friend, but hee desired mee to conceale her name ; for 
that her friends, with her relations, and parentage, were of great repute, 
and esteem in the country. 

A few yeares since this, my good friend is dead, and, I hope, that, 
without offence, I may say what I did know of him. 

That hee was a learned Gentleman, and a good, and judicious 
practicer in Physick, and had great knowledg in the midwife's bed, and 
in the delivery of women. 

Hee was- piously given, full of charity, a true lover of honesty, 
and of all good men ; friendly, and courteous, and kind to every one ; 
faithfull to his friend, and injurious to no man, a forgiver, and not a 
revenger of injuries. 

He lived peaceably and quietly with his neighbours, and was 
greatly beloved, living, and was much lamented, and mourned for at his 
end, was followed to his grave with much company, great and small, all 
shedding tears, and making sore lamentation, for the losse of so worthy 
a person. 

I was assured by a learned Dr. (that was eminent for severall good 
parts, more especially for his knowledge in the midwife's bed) that hee, 
with others, was called to deliver a woman, that had the neck of the 
womb scirrhous. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

All of them strived to open, and to dilate the os uteri, with the 
instrument, called speculum matricis, and, through their enforcements, 
that the instrument was broken in her body. 

Whereupon, it was conceived by them, That it would bee the best 
way to cut the neck of the womb with an incision-knife. The which 
this D 1 '. affirmed was done on both sides of the womb, and that it proved 
gristly in cutting, and that the passage being thus opened, and enlarged, 
the woman was, then, happily delivered of a living child, and, that shee 
well recovered these wounds, and the enforcements of the instrument, 
and was, afterwards, the mother of severall children. 

This report, with the passages, seemeth very Strang to mee, and 
greatly to bee admired. 

This D r . was very kind and loving to mee, and took delight in 
my company. I dare not think that untruths would passe from his 

Yet let no man bee offended for my saying to strangers 
Admiranda cano, sed &c. 

The story of subtle cheating knaves. 

Severall men came in the night to mee, after that I was gone to 
bed. They told mee, that a Gentlewoman, of good worth, hearing a 
good report of mee, and how I had saved the lives of severall women, 
and of their children, did purposely follow mee, and was now come to 
London, for the intent, to procure mee to deliver her; and that shee 
was suddenly suprized with pangs of labour, immediately after her 
journey. That shee had sent them, of purpose, to desire mee to come 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


forthwith unto her, and that shee would give mee any contentment for 
my comming. 

Beleeving their smooth words, I did arise, and go with them into 
Shoe-lane. They brought mee through an obscure Ally, and so into an 
upper chamber ; where I saw a man, meanly clothed, lying on a bed, 
laid on the floore, and wrapped in a poor blanket. 

My heart misgave mee, and I greatly feared that I was trepan' d 
by those, that brought mee to that place, and that I should bee abused 
by them. 

I asked where the Gentlewoman was, that desired my help. I 
was then brought into a poor little roome, where I saw the woman. 
Her mother in law was a midwife, and had used her very harshly; 
through her unhandsome doings, her body was much bruised, and, by 
hex putting the infant by the arme, shee had destroyed the infant's life. 

I asked the woman, what was that person, that was laid on the 
bed in the other roome. They said, that hee was her husband. I de- 
sired the women that hee might bee sent away, and that I might bring 
the woman to that place, where that I might have roome to turn my 
hand, assuring them, That I could not performe the work in that 
narrow, strait place. 

I brought her thither, and, as shee kneeled on the bed, by the 
child's feet, after that I had turned the birth, I quickly laid her of her 
dead child. 

Her mother in law came afterwards unto mee, and said, That they 
were poore, and gave mee half a crown, the which I gave to the woman, 
that I had delivered, before her. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

Her mother in law was of an ill condition, and valued not the 
life of her son's wife, as her deeds manifested. 

The women told mee, That shee was troubled with a loosenes. 
I willed them to make her a rice-caudle, and to give it to her. I went 
the next morning to see how shee did. I asked her, whether shee had 
taken the things, that I appointed for her. 

Shee said, That shee had no money, and that her mother in law 
had taken away from her the half crown, so soon as I was gone away. 
I caused the money to bee given again unto her. 

But this loosenes, with the unkindnes of her mother in law, and 
the want of attendance, with provisions necessary, hastened her untimely 

Though I was deluded by this flattering, cheating company, yet 
I heartily thanked God, that I had escaped my present doubts, and 
feares, and rejoyced, That I was not trepan' d, and brought into the 
danger to bee compelled to pay for my release, by ransoming my self 
with a sum of money, as others had formerly done in London. 

To proceed to come to other unhandsome passages. Let mee 
acquaint you, That, now, Apothecaries, leaving the beating of their 
mortars, turn Doctors, as also taking upon them to bee men-midwives, 
and, as yet, escaping their due reward, in not pacing the hangman's 
black stumbling horse, or the receiving of the hot iron in their hands, 
for their reward, and just deserts. 

There was a broken, runnagate Apothecary, that turned mounte- 
bank. Hee set forth his bills, promising great cures, and took upon 
him to bee expert in the delivery of women. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Hee came into Lincolnshire, where hee was desired to visit a 
woman, labouring to bee delivered, and to use his best endeavours to 
lay her. 

The birth came by the arme, the which hee presently cut off, with- 
out any remorse of conscience, and so, forthwith, hee left the woman, in 
her afflictions, to be delivered by the women. 

And, although the women did earnestly intreat him to stay, and 
to finish his work, yet hee would not bee moved to it. 

And was there not just cause for his departure? for that this 
woman was the first woman (and last) that ever hee came unto, to de- 
liver ; and his conscience and credit assured him, 

That hee had done already, more, then hee could justifie, and that 
hee knew not how to proceed to finish the work. 

At his going away, hee told the women, that now it was their 
work to performe the rest of the delivery. And so, like himself fa 
mountebank) hee left the labouring woman in great distresse. 

It pleased God to permit another woman to deliver her of the 
rest of the child's body. 

Hee was an ignorant, impudent, shameles evank mountebank, 
and had five pounds for cutting off the child's arme, and so murthering 
the child. 

It is now too frequently used, by midwives, to cut off armes, as 
this Apothecary did, or to pull the infant by the arme, in hopes, to draw 
forth the child's body. 




Observations in Midiviferg, by 

In Staffordshire, at King's Bromely, over night, a woman was 

delivered of a dead child, and the after-burden being fetched, shee was 

put into her bed, and the midwife supposed that all her work was 

But, the next morning, the hand and arme of another child 
appeared. By two midwives this child was endeavoured to bee pulled 
away by the arme. 

But, when their strength failed, the older midwife did cut off the 
child's arme, and then, afterwards, shee was delivered, and the woman 
again recovered her strength. 

This fact was done about the twentieth day of August 1670. 

In Staffordshire, at Hampton Bidway, towards the later end of 
August 1670, 

A woman, in that place dwelling, had a child comming into the 
world with the arme first. 

Shee had two midwives to help her. After fruitles endeavours to 
reduce the arme, they concluded to pul it away by the arme; and, 
through their strengths, they pulled off the infant's arme with the 
shoulder, and left the rest of the child's body remaining behind, and the 
woman not delivered. 

A third midwife was sent for. By her the rest of the body was 
brought forth (some say, by instruments, the which I do not beleeve) 
and this woman recovered. 

The same fact was done at Newbrough, long since, upon the body 
of Goodwife Right. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


There was a scandalous report in London, with which an old mid- 
wife was spotted ; That, through a mistake, in stead of the after birth, 
sliee pulled away the womb, of which the woman died. 

But I will not bee so injurious to old midwives, as to give 
credence to such unworthy reports. 

Although I know assuredly, That some of them do not (as they 
should) understand their practice, and dayly undertakings. 

F. E. striving to lift a heavy coale, and to carry it farther, then 
her strength would well permit, perceived something to crack in her 
back. That night shee suffered lapsus uteri. Shee oft put it up, but it 
would presently fall down againe. 

Being troubled, and discontented, and wearied with this affliction, 
in hopes to cure her serf, shee went into the garden, and, laying hold on 
it, drew it, and cut it forth, with part of the vagina uteri. 

A great flux of blood followed, with fainting. Shee swooned, 
and was taken up, more likely, presently to die, then to recover. 

The womb was great, and deep, and shee had cut off some of the 
fleshy part of the neck of the bladder, with all the womb, and could 
not, then hold her water. 

Seeking help to stay her water, and finding none, at last shee 
came to mee. I could passe my finger through the wound into the 

I followed the way, that others had taken, to stich it up. But 
first I endeavoured to cleanse her body with purges, and turpentine pils. 
For in those parts, shee had a faint, raw, and unsavoury smell. After- 

hh 2 ' " 






and af- 
cut forth. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 


wards I scarified the place, where the wound was made ; and, with 
double twisted silk, I stitched it up. 

Whilest that the stitches did hold, her water came by the right 
passage. But, when they separated, her urine issued again by the old 
breach. It grew narrower, and lay deep. It could not, at last, bee 
perceived where the orifice was, through which the water dribled. 

Shee lived severall yeares with this affliction, and died uncured, her 
water alwayes comming night and day, insensibly dribling from her. 

In S. Thomas Hospitall Anno 1659, there was a creature J. E. 
that was neither maid, wife, or widow. She had undergone much 
strugling, halings, and enforcements by her midwife, in the time of her 
labour to bee delivered. Shee could badly go, and went stradling. 

That worthy good man, Dr Wharton, pitying her troublesome 
condition, related her misery to mee. 

Shee was taken into a private roome by the D r , and Mrs. of the 
ward. Id this woman I saw a great lapsus uteri, as big as two fists. 

I put it up before them, and, having about mee an uterine pes- 
sary, that was round, and thin, and a little hollo wish, being very light (it 
was made of ouler wood) I conveyed the same presently into vagina 
uteri. Shee found much comfort by it. It kept up the womb, and 
then shee was able to walk, without pain, in a comely gesture. Shee 
set herself to sweep roomes, and make beds, and was able to do any 
ordinary work without trouble. I willed her not to offer to carry, or 
lift any heavy weight, nor to use any violent exercise, or motion. 

Whilest that shee observed these rules, and kept the pessary in 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


her body, shee was happy, and well, and freed of all disquiets. Shee 
was living in May Anno 1668. 

De Mola. 

Old Dixe of Dawberry lees in Darbyshire married a young 
woman. Not long after, her belly grew great, yet shee proved not with 

The common, vulgar people said, and usually reported, That his 
nature had poisoned her body. 

Shee oft had great fluxes of blood, and, in those fluxes, avoided 
great clots of blood, and so shee was, for the present, eased of her 

But her belly did not fall, or grow lesser. Shee thus continued 
for severall yeares after her Husband's death. 

Shee was, afterwards, married to one John Vaughan of Morley, 
nigh Darby. And I conceive that this woman had a mole in utero, for 
that her breasts did not swell, and had no milk in them. 

, Shee became leane in all her body, especially in her legs. But her 
belly was much sworn, as though shee had a dropsy. Her navel never 
stood forth. Twice, or thrice a yeare shee lost much blood, with sever- 
all clots of coagulated blood. At which times shee had some slight 
paines, as though shee was in labour. But, when this issue stopped, 
her paines abated, and shee was eased by this evacuation of blood. 

And, for these causes, I confidently beleeved, That shee had a 
mole in her womb, too great to bee expelled, whereof, at last, shee died. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

In France, and the Low Countries, they have many privileges, 
and customes which we cannot obtain in England. They open dead 
bodies, without any mutterings of their friends. Should one of us desire 
such a thing, an odium of inhumane cruelty would bee upon us by the 
vulgar, and common people. 

Had this woman, after her death, been opened, I beleeve, that, 
in the womb, a mole of a great bignes would have been found. See 
Pareus the 33 and 34 ch. concerning the Generation of man. fol. 625. 

A dead child in a naturall Birth. 


D r Harvey saith, That the water is the cause of the delivery of 
the fetus, which is dead, and putrefied in the womb. In that, by it's 
corruption, and acrimony, it doth extimulate the uterus to releeve it self. 

I was desired by a Gentlewoman, to come, and stay with her, for 
that, of ten dayes, shee had not perceived the child to move, or stirre 
in her womb ; and, when shee lay on either side, shee found, that the 
child did fall unto that side, on which shee did lie. 

I gave her cordials. Upon the taking of them 3 times a day, 
shee felt a heaving in her womb, but no motion of a child. At the end 
of these ten dayes, in the night, shee fell into labour December the sixth 
1671, before foure a clock in the morning, I was called to her. The 
birth came naturally, and the child's head was easily born. The child 
stuck at the shoulders ; but, by my finger put under the armepit, with 
easy drawing, it was soone brought forth ; as also the after-birth came 
quickly. Thus, quickly shee was freed of a dead child about foure in 
in the morning 1671. 

After shee was put into bed, for that shee was subject to lose 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


much blood, I gave her a drachm of the powder of white amber, pre- 
pared, and well mixed with the yolk of an egge, and, by degrees, it was 
made potable with a caudle, and all her sorrows were, through God's 
mercy, and permission, happily ended. 

Lastly, I desired to have the child brought to mee. I found the 
navel string to have a muddy colour, and the child much flayed, and 
corrupted, and the body of it did greatly stink, so that I was not able 
to endure the sent of it. 

Yet, I humbly thank God, shee is well recovered, and enjoyeth 
her health, and strength againe. 

Elizabeth, the wife of John Stone, of Rudgway, fell into labour 
January the 25 167£. The midwife forced the birth, and broke the 
waters towards night, and an arme came downe. Shee had two mid- 
wives, and both pulled, one after the other, the child by the arme, 
untill they had killed the child ; and the arme was made black, and 
greatly sweFd by their halings, and was nigh pulled off at the shoulder. 

In their despairing to deliver her, I was sent for. The 26 day I 
came to her. 

After I had seen her, and her midwives usage, and had felt her 
pulse, and had viewed her face ; I went to her husband, and told him, 
That, with God's permission, I could lay his wife, but, in all likelyhood, 
shee would not recover, but die not long after the delivery of this child ; 
for that shee had been ill used by her midwives, and her body was de- 
stroyed by them. Yet hee desired to save her life, and shee, mightily, 
to bee layed. 

I placed her kneeling on a bolster, and putting down her head 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

in a bending, descending posture, by the child's feet, shee was quickly 
laid ; and the after-birth was soon fetched away, and shee was put into 
her bed. 

But her feet were cold. Unto them were hot bricks applied 
(wrapped in cloths) and her face was kept warm with hot linens. But 
her chin continued cold, and would not bee warmed with hot linen 
cloths, oft put under it. After this, shee complained of a stitch, which 
took her in the left side, but it was removed by a tallow brown paper, 
with warme applications. 

Shee had a decoction of cloves, made of equall parts of white 
wine, and water ; of which shee drank, to mitigate her after-paines. To 
her navell was laid a plaister of raw Galbanum, and her nostrils were 
anointed with oile of amber. 

At last, shee could not swallow, and, about eight houres after her 
delivery, between ten and eleven, shee departed that night. 

2-d oj 

1. Felice Hollinghurst of Budgly. 

2. EUzabeth Walthur of Stafford, a Butcher's wife. 

There is an infirmity (though it seldome happeneth, or is seen by 
physicians, or chirurgions) called Cauda mulierum, and it causeth great 
flouding, of which I will make some mention, because I have seen it. 

There was a maid, a miller's daughter in Darbyshire. Shee oft, 
at severall times, lost much blood, issuing violently, before it stopt. 

Shee came to mee Anno 1638 for help. Shee shewed mee a long, 
round lump of flesh, like a dog's pizzle in shape, and thicknes, which 
shee could put forth of her body, when shee stooped downward. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


It lay on one side vagina uteri, and had a hollow sheath to cover 
it. When shee stood upright, it went up into her body, and then it 
was not to bee felt, and from this cauda the flux of blood issued. 

I used severall wayes for her ease, without any good successe. At 
last, I resolved to take it off with a ligature, for that it had no great 
But this maid, grieving at her affliction, went alone into the 
garden, took hold on it, and, with a violent twitch, pulled it off. She 
did greatly bleed afterwards. Being tat en up from the ground, shee 
was supposed to bee dead. Being carried into the house, and laid on a 
bed, shee came againe unto herself. And thus, casually, shee was cured, 
and was not, afterwards, any more troubled with bleeding, or any other 
infirmity of the womb. 

There came into my house, at Darby, my honoured good friend 
D r Harvey 1642. 

Wee were talking of severall infirmities, incident to the womb. 

After that I had related the aforegoing story de cauda mulieris, 
and how shee flouded, and was cured, hee added to my knowledge an in- 
firmity, which hee had seen in women, and hee gave it the name of a 
honey-comb, which also, hee said, would cause flouding in women. 

Some twenty yeares after I was desired to come to an ancient, 
good woman, aged about three score ; that, then, began to floud, and 
never afore that time. And this issue of blood seized on her once a 
moneth, or oftener ; and in so violent a manner, that shee would make 
wet, with her blood, severall black cotton cloths, in lesse space, then 
three quarters of an houre. 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

And this flux would' not stanch, untill that shee became pale, and 
weak, ready to faint away. 

I gave her seven graines of the inner part of an unripe, green 
gall, with the same quantity of blue vitriol, mixt with a little , conserve 
of red roses. 

The medicine made her once to vomit, but it did not purg her, 
and shee never flouded after the taking of this medicine. 

I found, by my finger, a swelling, nigh the upper part of vagina 
uteri, towards one side of the womb, there • sticking, to my thinking, 
like a spung, or a honey-comb ; at the end whereof were some small 
'tumours, like to the blind piles, but the tumour did not, at all, afflict her. 

The losse of this bloud did adde weaknes to her body, but the 
severall disquiets, which shee oft received from a troublesome daughter, 
did much more grieve her, and trouble her spirits ; and, somewhat more, 
then half a yeare after, shee died ; not through the losse of bloud, but, 
rather, of troubles in her mind, which shortened her dayes. . r 

Her husband was my familiar friend, and, by his discourse, in 
talking with mee, hee made it very manifest, That shee long had, this 
tumour called a Honey-comb in vagina uteri, growing towards the neck 
of the womb. 

Of the tunicle, or membrane, called Hymen. 

Pareus, in his 42 ch. de generatione hominis, saith, That in some 
virgins, or maidens, in the orifice of the neck of the womb, there is 
found a certain tunicle, or membrane, called, of ancient writers, Hymen, 
which prohibiteth the copulation of a man, and causeth a woman to bee 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


i This tunicle is supposed, by many, to bee, as it were, the enclosure 

of the virginity, or maidenhead, hee saith. 

I once saw it in a virgin of seventeen yeares. It was a very 
thin, nervous membrane. It grew a little above the nymphee, near unto 
the orifice of the neck of the womb. In the midst thereof was a very 
little hole, whereout her water did flow. I, seing the thicknes thereof, 
cut it in sunder with my scissers, and told her mother what shee should 
do afterwards ; and shee married afterwards, and bore children. 

But this tunicle is very seldome seen, so — saith Pareus. 

Whilest that I lived in Stafford, out of the More-lands, a child, 
about seven yeares of age, in the yeare 1655, was brought unto mee, 
having this membrane called Hymen. 

After that I had bound her in that way, as they do their patients 
in cutting for the stone, into the small orifice I put a crooked forceps ; 
with the dilatation of the instrument, the thin membrane was easily 
torne open, and I had no need of scissers, or of an incision-knife, to 
divide the skin. 

Pareus, in his 43 chapter, saith, That John Wierus writeth, That 
there was a maid at Comburge, who, in the midst of the neck of the 
womb, had a thick, and strong membrane, growing overthwart. So 
that, when the monethly termes should come, it would not permit them, 
which caused a great tumour, and distended the belly with great tor- 
ment, as if shee had been in travail with child. 

The midwives being called, and having seen, and considered all 
that had been done, and did appear, did all, with one voice, affirme, 


Observations in Midivifery^ by 

That shee sustained the paines of childbirth ; although the maid herself 
denied, that shee ever dealt with man. 

Therefore, then, this foresaid Auctour was called, who, when the 
midwiyes were void of help, and counsell, might help this wretched 
maid, having, already, had her urine stopped three whole weeks, and per- 
plexed with great watchings, losse of appetite, and loathing. And when, 
hee had seen the grieved place, and marked the orifice of the neck, of 
the womb ; hee saw it stopped with a thick membrane. 

Hee knew also, That the sudden breaking out of the bloud into 
the womb, and the vessels thereof, and the passage for those matters, 
that was stopped, was the cause of her grievous, and tormenting paine. 

And therefore hee called a chirurgion presently, and willed him to 
divide the membrane, that was in the midst, that did stop the flux of 
bloud, which being done, there came forth as much black, congealed, and 
putrefied blood, as weighed some eight pounds. In three dayes after 
shee was well, and void of all diseases, and paine. 

I have thought good to set downe this example, because it is 
worthy to bee noted, and fitting to bee imitated, if that the like occa- 
sion should happen. 

The report of James Guillimeau the French King's Chirurgion in his 
second book ch. 8. fol. 108. 

In the yeare 1607 in May M r . de la Noue, the King's Chirurgion 
in ordinary, and sworne in the Chastelet of Paris, was called to search 
a young woman, the wife of a Goldsmith, who had been cited by her 
husband to appear before the officiall of Paris, alledging, That shee was 
not capable, nor fit, by nature, to bee married ; which was an occasion 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


that Germane Hassart (a midwife) and myself were sent for, to search 
her. Where wee found, That, in the very entrance of the womb, there 
was a membrane, so strong, hard, and thick, that a man's finger (and 
much lesse the other part) was not able to break it open ; 

Hee having oftentimes made triall to do it, whereby he had incur- 
red a Paraphymosis. And, therefore, it was concluded, that her hus- 
band had a just cause to cite her; but, yet, for all this, that it was 



Whereupon her Husband thought good to call Mr. de Levyre, 
and Pietre, sworn chirurgions at Paris. 

Then, wee all there concluded, with a generall consent, to make 
an incision of the said membrane ; which was done, and dressed, and 
healed, to her husband's content. 

Onely hee was somewhat doubtfull of that, winch the said de la 
Noue had observed, and told him, That his wife's belly was big, and 
that shee was qualmish, and distasted, vomiting every morning, which 
made him suspect, That shee was with child. Whereupon, a midwife 
told him, That there was no likelyhood, nea, it was impossible to think, 
That a young woman, of eighteen yeares of age, should bee with child, 
her husband having never entered within her maiden cloister, and that, 
with threshing onely at the barn doore, shee should bee full. 

Whereupon Mr. Pietre was sent for, who thought, at first, hee 
could not bee induced to beleeve it, yet, at length, having well con- 
sidered thereof, gave his judgement, That shee was with child, which 
proved true ; For, about some foure moneths after the incision was made, 
shee was happily delivered, at her full time, of a fair daughter. 


Observations in Midivifery, by 



Pareus saith, That superfetation is, when a woman doth beare two, 
or more children at one time, and they bee inclosed, each in his severall 
secondine. But those, that are included in the same secondine, are 
supposed to bee coneeived at one, and the same time of copulation, by 
reason of the great, and copious abundance of seed. And these have 
no number of dayes between their conception and birth, but all at once. 

Superfetation is no other thing, then a certain second conception, 
when the woman, already with child, again useth copulation with a man, 
and so conceiveth again, according to the judgment of Hippocrates. 

This is a most manifest argument of superfetation, That as many 
children, as are in the womb, (miles they bee twins of the same sex) 
so many secondines there are, as I have often seen my self. And it is 
very likely, That, if they were conceived in the same moment of time, 
that they would all bee included in one secondine. 

D r . Harvey of the birth fol. 479 reports, That a certain maid, 
gotten with child by her master, to hide her knavery, came to London 
in September, where shee lay in by stealth, and, being recovered again, 
returned home. But, in December following, a new birth (for shee had 
a superfetation) did proclaime the crime, which shee had cunningly con- 
cealed before. 

Some women, that have suffered abortment, have conceived two 
children at the same time, and the other hath continued the full time, 
and been brought forth perfect. 

A Gentlewoman in Darby, after that shee had laien in her moneth, 

and was ! preparing to go to ' the church, with her neighbours, to give 
God thanks for her safe delivery, was taken with sudden paines, like 
throws, whereupon shee returned againe into her chamber ; there, that 
day, shee had an unexpected superfe^ation, and was delivered of an other 


Parens saith, That abortion, or untimely birth is one thing, and 
that effluxion is another. 

They call abortion the sudden exclusion of the child, already 
formed, and alive, before the perfect maturity thereof. 

But that is called effluxion, which is the falling down of seeds 
mixed together, and coagulated but for the space of few dayes, in the 
formes of membranes, or tunicles, congealed blood, and of any unshapen, 
or deformed piece of flesh. . 

The sayings of Dr. Harvy. 

I have, sometimes, known the conception to perish in the womb, 
and, being turned into a putrid matter, to have glided, and issued forth 
(like the flores albi) and this, both in women, and other animals. 

There was, not long since, a woman in London, which, after such 
kind of abortment, did conceive again, and was 'delivered at the just 

But, a little after, as shee went about her work, being not in 
great pain, or distemper, shee did eject, by pieces, the black little bones, 
which related to her former abortment. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

Some of these bones were brought to mee, which I could discover 
to bee the fragments of the spine, the bones of the thigh, and of other 

See the Countesse of Chest. 

Susan Love, the wife of Richard Love, a gardiner, and souldier 
in Darby Anno 1643. This woman had a child, that rotted from her 
womb, in great lumps, the bones and flesh came sticking together. 

There was a great piece of the flesh brought to mee, containing 
part of the forehead, and cheek, with all the flesh about the eye, and 
the eye not broken, sticking in it in one lump. 

With giving her medicines to keep open, and to cleanse the womb, 
shee, through God's great mercy, and permission, recovered, but hath 
had no child since that time. Shee, yet, is living 1671. 

I came casually into a friend's house, I found the good woman in 
labour, and the midwife too busy, in striving to deliver this woman of 
an abortion. 

I desired the midwife to put her into her bed. There, after some 
warme keeping, shee did, without the midwife's haling, miscarry. 

There came from her a thin membrane, filled with clear water, 
and one might clearly see, through this membrane and water, two small, 
white substances, not altogether as big as barley cornes, swimming in 
the water, each of them having a navel-string, and they both were en- 
closed in one membrane ; and these two small substances, though easily 
touched, separated into several! parts, having no thicker consistence, 
then coagulated creme. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


I beleeve that this thin membrane was Amnion, comming away 
entire, not breaking the coat, and containing in it the colliquamentum, or 
purer humour, mentioned by Dr. Harvy, for that a secondine, with 
some little skin, representing a peare, came afterwards, which I took for 
chorion ; and it was hollow in the midst. 

February 22 Anno 1652; There was a worthy, good woman, that 
miscarried. From her body was brought unto mee a perspicuous, thin 
membrane, full of very cleare water, in which was a small, little, white 
lump, hanging by a navell-string, and swimming in the water. 

After this followed a thin, lumpie piece of flesh, perforated, and 
hollow in the midst, like a purse. 

And, unles the first was amnion, with the waters contained in it, 
and the other chorion, I cannot imagine what these two severall mem- 
branes should bee. 

I was sent for to visit a gentleman's wife, about the yeare 1664, 
that had an abortion. The midwife shewed mee a lump of gristly flesh, 
representing a cock's gizard, with the side perforated, with a long slit, 
by which I knew that shee had miscarried ; and this was the secondine, 
and I have seen it in severall women, that have had abortments. 

But the Amnion, comprehending the thin, and transparent water, 
comming whole away, I never saw many more, but in these two onely 

I was brought to a woman in Nottingham Town, from whom all 
the fleshy parts of her child consumed, and rotted away in her womb, 
and shee had ejected severall dry, bare bones of the armes, thighs, and 
legs, some whereof I took from her body before severall women. 


At Twi- 


Observations in Midivifery, by 

The mouth of the womb was scirrhous, somewhat open, and filled 
full of many bones. 

At last her side impostumated, and out of it was taken the child's 
skull. I desired a chirurgion to look unto her. Shee was poore, and 
I feare hee neglected her. Shee died Anno 1632. 

Sennertus de partu nullo. 

After a full time, it may so happen, That signes of delivery may 
appear, and that a woman may have paines, and that the water may 
onely issue, and that, afterwards, all paines may cease, and return no 

Goodwife Cole of Redemarton in Gloucester-shire, having a great 
belly, supposed her self to bee with child. Shee kept her midwife a 
fortnight, or longer, in the house with her. At last, the womb opened, 
and the waters dribled severall dayes together. By degrees, her belly 
did fall, and became little, and her expectation ended in nothing. Shee 
lived severall yeares after, but gave over bearing children 1624. 

I was with a woman of Newcastle under Line in Staffordshire, 
her belly was big, as though shee had been nigh downe lying. 

Shee had much paine on her, day and night. Her womb opened, 
and part of chorion descended, like a gut, two inches long, and as thick 
as two fingers, full of water. 

Shee continued with her great belly, full of misery, above a 
moneth after this time. Then the membrane chapped, and the waters, 
by degrees dribled. Her belly fell, and the tumour went away, and shee 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Dr Harvey reporteth, That hee did know a young woman, who 
was daughter of a physician, who was his neare acquaintance, which, 
being big, felt all the symptomes incident to women in that condition, 
and continued hearty and spritely. After fourteen weekes, shee per- 
ceived the motions of a foetus in her womb, and, having finished her 
time for going with child, conceiving the houre of her delivery to bee 
nigh at hand, shee had her bed furnished, her cradle ready, and all the 
implements, pertaining to the purpose, laid out for use. 

But all these preparations came to nothing, and Lucina was crosse 
to her wishes, for her customary paines left her, and her belly, as it rose 
by degrees, so it sunk again. But shee remained barren ever after. 

This same accident happened to an acquaintance of mine in 
Warwick-shire. Shee never had any child afterwards. 

Also Dr Harvey did know a noble matron, who had borne above 
ten children, and whose courses were never suppressed, unles shee were 
with child. 

But, being, afterwards, married to another husband, besides other 
usuall signes, shee apprehended her self to bee with child, by the stirring 
of it (which both shee her self, and her sister also, who then lay with 
her in bed, did, many times, in the night, perceive) and all the argu- 
ments, I could suggest, could not remove that perswasion from her ; 
till, at the last, all her hopes vanished into flatulency, and fatnes. 

Therefore Dr Harvey saith, So that, sometimes, the most approved 
signes of ingravidation have not onely deluded the silly women, but the 
experienced midwives, and the skilfull physicians themselves. 

There are several! false indications of gravidation. Wee must not 
__ .. __ ________ 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

e. w. 

rashly determine of the inordinate birth, before the seventh moneth, or 
after the eleventh. 

There was a Gentlewoman, a very good friend of mine, who 
heartily laughed at the folly of an ill bred, dogged, and covetous clown, 
that had abused her, Anno 1646. 

That night following shee was taken with various movings, or 
motions in her belly, like to the moving of a lively child, and these 
motions continued, and did accompany her body, chiefly, in the night, 
for a moneth, or longer time, untill her courses did break again upon 
her, and then they ceased. 

Nobody would have thought these motions any other thing, then 
the lively stirring, or moving of a child. 

In June 1631 There came into my chamber at Darby the wife of 
Thomas Hood of Hallington, having a great belly. 

Shee desired mee to take my instruments, and to deliver her. 
Shee said, That, in March last past, shee was in strong labour, and had 
many throwes to enforce the birth. That shee had two midwives, 
Goodwife North, and Goodwife Goodwine, to assist her in travaile. 
That they both felt the child, and hoped that every throwe would have 
delivered her. 

When, suddenly, in the height of her labour, her paines ceased, 
and her body again closed up, and, from that time, shee never had any 
pain, or more dribling of the waters -, nor, since, felt the child to move. 
And her husband witnessed the same, both affirming, That, afore, the 
child was a lively, moving child. 

I sent her to her lodging. I gave her musk in claret wine mulled. 

Peixivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


But the child had no motion, and it caused no alteration in her body. 
Wherefore, for the present, I desired her to be patient, and promised 
her, if ever shee had any more labour, or that, at any time, her body 
again opened, that I would be ready to help her the best I could. 

But, being impatient, and not brooking delayes, shee put her self 
under the hands of a beggery, wandering woman, that promised to cure 

The wanderer gave the powder of white hellebore unto this great 
bellied woman, which much swelled her body, and threatened to en- 
danger her life with suffocating fits. 

This wanderer, seing her patient very ill, and that her physick did 
not work, as shee expected, went unto an Apothecaries widow, and 
desired her to give her any purge. So shee let her have two ounces of 
syrup of roses, which set the hellebore on working. 

The operation was very violent, in forcing many vomits, and 

For all this, the greatnes of her belly continued without any 

I saw this great bellied woman some fourteen moneths after this 
time. Her belly grew greater, and shee was much weakened through 
her infirmity. 

And, from her groin, shee had very great, and larg venes, ascend- 
ing to her breasts. 

About November, afterwards, this great bellied woman, in this 
her weaknes, did take a vomit from an ignorant man. It made her sick. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

At the first motion of the working, shee became very faint. At the 
second vomiting, shee died. 

Her neighbours desired my comming to open her belly, but I was 
not at home. 

A woman, among this company, did cut open her belly, and womb. 
And there was found a female infant, which began a little to corrupt on 
the crown of the head, and at the finger ends, and toes. 

All the rest of the body was sound, not in any place offering to 

This child, after the usual time of women going with child, shee 
carried in her womb above two years, seven moneths, or a longer time. 

This wandering woman, her physician, leaving Loughborrow, in 
her comming nigh to Darby, was delivered of a child in a ditch with- 
out the help of midwife, or any assisting woman shee took up her child, 
and brought it with her alive to Darby. So shee escaped hanging. 

Shee took upon her great matters, and rare cures in Physick, and 
chirurgery. Her Apothecaries shop was a butter milk can, in which 
shee kept the universall medicine to cure epilepsies, Palsies, Lethargies, 
Consumptions, Dropsies, the lame, and blind; sweFd, as also all 
withered, decayed members. But, her practice failing, shee fell to 
theeving. Shee was necessitated to flie, and run away from Darby, 
fearing the Hangman's Budget. 

I make mention of these reports, for that I knew each of these 
passages to be true. And I admired at the gathering again of new 
waters, in which the infant was long preserved, without any more putre- 

A child 
born in 
a ditch. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


There was a Strang, yet true accident, which happened at Ash- 
burne in Darbyshire. 

At the first hearing of it, and fov that I would bee more certainly 
informed of the truth, I sent unto my friend Mr Abraham Mercer, 
lecturer of the place, desiring him, to let mee have a true relation of it, 
and from him I received this certificate December the 9. 1667. 

Emme, the wife of Thomas Toplace, was five dayes in labour. 
The sixth day, shee had a medicine given her, to ease her paines, by a 
Doctor of Divinity, pretending some small skill in physick. After the 
taking of the medicine, in the evening, shee was supposed to bee dead; 
and, after nine a clock that night shte was buried. 

As shee was carried to the grave, some thought, that they heard a 
rumbling in the coffin. A noise was heard like the breaking of a 
bladder, after which followed a noisome smell. Shee had an ill condi- 
tioned man to her husband, that frequently gave her evill words, and, 
oft, blows with them. 

Her Husband, with his mother, and the midwife, with some other 
women, made haste to bury her, having, among other things, filled her 
mouth with, hurds. 

Severall women were much troubled at her hasty buriall, and 
thought, That shee was not dead. 

Among this company there was one Anne Chadwick, by name, 
that returned to the grave ; and, laying her eare to the ground, shee 
heard a sighing, as it might bee of one dying in that grave. 

A souldier, being with her, heard the same, and hee affirmed, be- 
sides the sighing, that hee heard the crying of a child. 





Observations in Midwifery, by 

They went to Mr. Pegg, a Justice of the Peace in that Town, 
and told him of it, as also the minister, and others, what noise was 
heard in the grave ; and Anne Chadwick said, That shee beleeved that 
the woman was alive. 

The earth was cast off from the coffin, and the coffin was found 
somewhat opened, where, formerly, the bords were joined together, with 
a ridg at the top, and the coffin was hot. 

After that, it was opened ; the woman's hand was seen bare, and 
some saw hurds lying on her breast, and in her hand, with which her 
mouth had been stopt by her husband's friends. And it was beleeved, 
That the buried woman had pulled those hurds out of her mouth with 
her own hand, after that shee was interred. 

Another woman put downe her hand, and found a child, delivered 
in the coffin, and descended as low as her knees, or lower, with one 
hand in the mouth, and the other extended by the side, and the after- 
burden was also come from her. 

Her husband, with Ins mother, and the midwife, with others, 
which laid her forth (after her supposed death) were much displeased, 
that the grave was opened, and at the murmuring of the people. Hee 
gave threatening words against some of the company ; but, at last, hee 
thought that it was his best way to bee quiet, and to let all their words, 
and deeds sleep with his deceased wife. 

I shall leave her husband, and his mother, and the women, that 
would have her so suddenly buried, to bee censured, as each particular 
person pleaseth. 

Whether this woman was alive, or dead, when shee was buried. 

Percivall Willushby, Gentleman. 


Elizabeth Shent, with her mother Anne Chad wick, with others, 
affirme these passages to bee true, and the coffin was left open all that 
night, that the bodies of the mother, and the child might bee seen by 
all those, that would look on them. 

Mr Abraham Mercer, also, took a certificat out of the Parish 
Register book, where it was thus recorded. 

April the 20, 1650 was buried Emme the wife of Thomas Toplace, 
who was found delivered of a child, after shee had laine two houres in 
the grave. 

Eor this woman's sake, 1 would not have women to bee suddenly 
buried, dying in child-bed, before signes of putrefaction do manifestly 
appeare. Especially, if that they have taken any medicine to ease pain, 
and cause sleep. 

Dr Harvey fol. 492 saith, How great furtherance the foetus doth 
confer to its own birth, severall observations do clearly evince. 
Farther hee reporteth. 

That a certain woman here among us (I speak it knowingly) was 
(being dead over night) left alone in her chamber. But, the next 
morning, an infant was there found between her legs, which had, by his 
own force, wrought his release. 

There was a naturall foole,. shee had good friends. It was her 
mishap to prove with child. Her friends were very carefull of her, and. 
shee lay between two women every night, and, by them, shee was looked 
unto, and attended. 



Observations in Midivifery, by 

But, at the last, not knowing what labour was, as these women 
slept, finding her belly to ake, shee stole from between them, and hasted 
to a ditch side, where did run a small rivulet of water; There, supposing 
to ease her belly- ach, instead of a naturall sioole, an abortion came from 

This business was soon begun, and quickly ended, and shee 
presently returned. 

But the women, her attenders, missing her, did arise to follow 
her, and they met her nigh, comming towards the house. They asked 
her where shee had been ; shee said, That her belly did ake, that shee 
went to the ditch to grunt, that some-thing was come from her, and 
that it lay on the bank. 

So this poor creature, not knowing what labour meant, was, 
through ignorance, by Dame nature, quickly, and easily delivered ; and, 
instead of going to the ground, was freed of an abortment. 

IMevertheles the Coroner sent this poor foole to the Goale. Shee 
knew not how to plead for her life. I was heartily grieved at her sim- 
plicity. I moved the Coroner to speak for her. Hee informed the judg, 
that it was a very small child, and the whole Bench saw that shee was a 
foole. It was in the Protector's dayes, and I feared that shee would 
have summum jus. 

The judg shewed the statute-Book to the jury. Neither judg, 
nor jury regarded her simplicity. They found her guilty, the judg con- 
demned her, and shee was, afterwards, hanged for not having a woman 
by her, at her delivery. 

Let all honest women take notice how easily, and quickly shee 
was delivered, through warme keeping, and quietnes, without a midwife. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Let the looser sort fear to commit folly, and, if casually they 
should transgresse, to bee carefull, not to bee alone in their travaile, 
least they should suffer, as tins poore, simple creature did. 

And let all midwives bee assured, That it is not their labours, in 
pulling, and haling their women's bodies, that causeth delivery. 

But that it is the work of Dame nature. And that the apple, 
peare, or plumb, or any other fruit, being full ripe, will fall off it self, 
without enforcement. 

Felice Hollinghurst, midwife at Rudgeley in Staffordshire, certi- 
fied mee, That Alice Harrison, a servant, being with child, but not 
mistrusted, dwelling at Ingam-Thorpe in Cank wood, hasted to a midden, 
in which shee made a hole, into which the fruit of her body (a female 
infant) was suddenly dropped. Shee, seeing her Mrs comming, did 
leave the place. Her Mrs, hearing a child to cry, went to the hole, 
and took up the infant, smeared with muck, and carried it into the 
house. The woman was caught, and brought to the child, and shee was 
happy that it pluckt her breast, so shee escaped the gallows about the 
faU of the leaf 1668, or 69. 

Country Observations. 

Let midwives observe the countryman, how he will bring his cold, 
stiff bootes, or shooes to the fire, how hee will warm them by degrees ; 
and, afterwards, how liee will smear them over with grease, and then 
rub it into the leather. . 

Thus doth liee make his boots, or shooes to become limber, soft, 
and easy to draw on, without hurting his feet, the which hee could not 
do afore, but with much strugling, and hurting himself, and torturing 
his feet with paine, and endangering the tearing of the leather. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

Midwives, think of this leather, when that you anoint your 
women's bodies with ointments, or balsamum Hystencum. See fol. 177. 

Observe the Smith, when hee is called to open a lock, that is out 
of order, how he will smear Ms key with grease, before he endeavoureth 
to open the lock ; and how he will gently move it up, and down, not 
striving with violence, and sudden motions, to unlock the same ; and 
how, at last, through patience, and easy motions, hee becommeth Mr of 
his desires, without breaking the key, or spoiling the lock. 

The womb is a place locked up. Let midwives so deale with their 
travailing women, so will the birth be more easy, and the child not 
pulled to pieces, or destroyed, nor the woman torn, or ruinated by the 
midwife's struglings, or stretchings of their bodies. In fitting time 
nature .will open the womb. 

Let all midwives observe the wayes and proceedings of nature for 
the production of their fruits in trees, the ripening of walnuts, and 
almonds, from their first knotting, unto the opening of the husk, and 
falling off the nut, and considering their signatures, to take notice, how 
beneficiall their oiles may bee for use in their practice, for the easing of 
their labouring woman. 

Both these fruits have their green husks, without any chappings, 
sticking so close unto them, that it is not possible to separate the husk 
from the shell, in which the fruit is inclosed, whilest that it is green, 
and unripe. 

But, as the fruit ripeneth, so, by degrees, this husk, of it self, 
will separate from the shell, which, at last, by it's own accord, chappeth, 
and, with a fissure, openeth, and, by degrees, separateth from the fruit. 
Then cloth the husk turn up the edges, and give wa}^, without any en- 

forcement, for the falling off the nut. Lastly, how this husk becom- 
meth black, and rotteth away from the tree, representing the comming 
away of the secondine. 

This signature may teach the midwife patience, and to perswade 
them, to let nature alone, to performe her own work, and not to crosse 
nature, in disquieting their women by their laborious struglings. 

For, as I have oft said, such enforcements, used by ignorant mid- 
wives, do rather hinder the birth, then, any way, promote it, and that 
they oft ruinate the mother ; and, usually, the child, and too often de- 
stroy both mother, and child. 

An egge representeth the womb. Now the hen, with keeping the 
egge warm, doth breed the chicken, the which, when it is come to 
maturity, doth chip the shell, and, by degrees, is hatched, without being 
navell-gauled, or made bloody in any part. 

But, if the countrywoman will hasten the hatching of the chicken, 
by endeavouring to pull off the shell from the chicken, shee then maketh 
an effusion of blood, and a navel-rupture, so the guts of the chicken 
falleth out of the body, and the chicken dieth. 

So hasty midwives oft cause effusions of blood, in the delivery of 
women, and too oft destroy infants, by their too officious struglings in 
the woman. 

Whereas, if the countrywoman would let the hen alone, and the 
midwife not trouble the labouring woman, both chicken, and infant 
misrht better bee saved. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

The Index of the Auctor. 


Accidents of the after-birth, Guilliroeau, - 

The Lady "Fitton, Sr Charles Addersl/s Lady, - 

Mrs. Alestry, __---.__ 


Mrs. Susan Alport, ..-..__ 

Mrs. Anson, .._..... 


The Lady Atherly, 


Abortion, ..-_--..- 


Arme, --------- 


Amnion -.--._ _ 



Mary Baker, -------- 


Mrs. Catherine Bambridge, ------ 


Old Mrs. Bambridge the mother, - - - 


Anne Barnet, ________ 


Margery Barker, ------- 


Mary Barton, -------- 


Mrs. Bateman, -------- 


Goodwife Bayly, -------- 


Dorothy Bayly, --.----- 


Grace Beechcroft, -------- 


John Besecht's daughter, 


Some would have all births turned to the head, 


William Blood's wife, - - 


Anne Bonsall, .-..-.-_ 



Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Mrs. Bright, - 

The Lady Broughton, 

Brumicham, the Innkeeper's wife, - 

Afterbirth, - 

Bolster, - 


Isabel Carter, 

Mr. Charles, the minister's wife, 

The Countesse of Chesterf., - 

Mr. Cornelius Clark's wife, 

Joseph Clark's wife, 

Mr. Clark's wife by the Brook, 

Dr. Chambers, perhaps, 

Christopher Naylor's wife, 

Elizabeth Cockin lapsus uteri 

Mrs. Coke of Trusly, 

The Cook's wife of Rishly, 

A Colliers's wife's loosness, 

A Coshall woman, 

Sarah Cordine, 

Cotchet the Captaine, 

A Countryman's wife at London, 

Mrs. Crafts cancerous, 

Anne Creswick, 

Crochet - 

Mrs. Crampton by Stone, 

Eleanor Cripple, - 















Observations in Midwifery, by 

Mrs. Curson, ._.-.. 


Clysters, -------- 

When the child is entered into the bones, 

- 62—18 

Chorion, -------- 


Child in the womb, ._-... 


Cotchet's wife, ------- 


Medicines to draw forth the child, 


Canda mulierum, ------ 



Edward Dainty, ------ 

Dr. Dakins's wife, - - - 

- 217—10 

Isabel Dakins, ------ 


Catherine Davies, ------ 

- 108—127 

Difficulty of birth, 

Susan Doughty, ....-- 


Alice Doxy, ------- 

Mrs. Dubton, ------- 


Best way of delivery, - 

Delivery without midwife, ----- 



Grace Edinser, ------ 


Elizabeth Elde, - 


Sr Tennebs Evank, - 


Verba Antonij Everardi, - 
Effluxion, - - - - - 


Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 



Mary Faring, ------- 


Alice Feme, ._..... 


The Lady Fitton, Sr Charles Addersly's lady, - 


Elianor Fletcher, ------- 


Goodwife Forman, ------ 


Anne Frith or Smith, ------ 



Mrs. Gilbert of Loccho, - 


Mrs. Gifford, ... ... 


Mrs. Catherine Gorton, ...... 


The Lady Griffin, 


Mrs. Grant, ------- 



Mrs. Margaret Hallowes, - 


My Cousin Hannom's Daughter, - 


Mrs. Mary Harley, -..-.. 


Anne Harrison, -._-_- 


Heath chan. eger. ------ 


El. H. El. H. 


Mrs. Alice Heath, 


The Huntsman's wife of Colton, - 



Mercy Haywood, ------ 


Mrs. Harpur, ------- 


Mary Hector, ------- 


Mrs. Hoden, ...__.- 




Observations in Midwifery, by 

Mrs Higs, ......_ 


Elizabeth Holland, - - 


Mrs Hopkins Draper at Darby, ..... 


Hampton Redway, ...... 


Mrs Houghton of Darby, ..... 


Countesse of Huntington, - - 


Husan's wife, . - - . . . 


Hymen, - - - - , . - 


Holerentius's wife, ...... 


Haling &c. naught, ...... 


Humours before delivery, - 


Hydrocephalos, ._..... 


Thomas Hofe's wife, ------ 


Honey- comb, ....... 


Th. Hood's wife, - - ... 




Goodwife Jackson of Nungreen, .... 


Mrs Mary James, ------ 



Jennings the Apothecary, ..... 


Ignorant Daies, ...... 


Goodwife Johnson, ...... 


The Irish relation, - - - - - 


Against Iliack passion, ------ 



Catherine Key, ------- 


King's Bramley, ------- 


Shooe lane cheating knaves, 


Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


The birth by the knees, - 

Mrs Kniveton, --.__._ 





Dorothy Launt, ___„___ 


Laxington, ______ 


Tbe Lady Holt Leigh, -.____ 


The Lady Leigh at Eidway, - 


Mrs Lilly of Diseworth, ------ 


Mrs Low's daughter of Denby, - 


Forerunner of labour, ____.. 


Signes of labour, - - 


To prepare women for labour, - 


Susan Loue, _______ 



Mrs Maneuring, _______ 


Mrs Marcome, _______ 


Mrs Mary Mercer, ---____ 


Mrs Middleton of Wandsly, 


K. P. a London midwife very officious, - 


Young midwives, - - 


The duty of midwives, ___,_.-_ 


Midwives that will not fetch the after-birth, 


Ignorant mid. -------- 


Mrs Milward, - - - - - 

Jane Molineux, ------ 


Eobt Middleton's wife, ____■__ 





Observations in Midwifery, by 

Goodwife More of Nottingham, - 


Mrs Isabel Mumford, _____ 


When midwife to begin to assist, - 


How to dry milk after birth, - 


De Mola, - - 



Mrs Nabs of Stafford, 


Christopher Naylor's wife, - 


A distorted neck, - 

- 163, &c. 

Dorothy North, 


Nature's force for expulsion, - - 


111 to have the navel-string long in the world, 



Goodwife Oldam, - 


Mrs Okeover, _______ 


Goodwife Osborne, - - - - 


The woman of Osliston, ------ 



Mrs Elizabeth Parker, 


Cleare Pearson, ------- 


Mrs Perkins, ....... 


Goodwife Percy at Wollerton, 


Margery Philips, 


Goodwife Picraft, ------- 


Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Mrs Elizabeth Potter, Mr Tho : Potter's wife, 


Powell at Weston, - 


Mrs Powell a scholem rs wife, - 


Jane Potter of Duffield, - - 


Mrs Price, _______ 


Pil. Pacifica, __„____ 


Piles in child-bed, ______ 


John Primer's wife, ______ 


Mrs Pickard, _______ 


De partu nnllo, _____„_ 




Elianor Ragge, ______ 


Paith Kaworth, _______ 


Mrs Season, - - ■ - 


Goodwife Renshaw, ______ 


Jeremy Rhodes wife, - - - _ - - 


Mr Robert Ring's wife, ______ 


Risedale's wife, ------- 



Isaac Saint's wife, _______ 


Mrs Shelton, - - - . - . - 


Mrs Sheevirall, _______ 


Mrs Shaw of London, 

- 251—37 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

Smedly, ........ 


Alice Smith of Darby, ....._ 


Mrs Smith of Quinborrow, .... - 


Joane Smith, ...-.._. 


Mrs Snead, ..._.--. 


Mrs Mary Spademan, 

Spink in the strand, .... 


Jane Spencer, ........ 


Elizabeth Stone, ------- 


Secondine, - - - - - - -'- 


Mrs Staynes, - - 


Scouring in child-bed, ------ 


Superfetation, ------- 



Sr Tennebs Evank, ------- 


Emme Toplace, - - - - - - - 


Woman tossed in a blanket, - 


John Twigs, ------- 


Elizabeth Twomley, ------- 


Twins how many at a time, _...-.. 


The latter twin to bee fetched away presently after the first, - 


Some twins included all in one after-birth, - 


Tab's wife, -------- 




Mrs Walker, 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Mrs Judith Ward, 


Mrs Watson, 


Mrs Whitehalgh at Park-hall, ..... 


Dr John Wilby, 


Mrs Jane Wildbore, --.... 


Goodwife Wilder, -_-... 



Mrs Willis nigh London, - 


A countrywoman nigh London, • 


Councellour Milward's wife, ..... 


A woman tossed in a blanket, .... 


No woman born a midwife, ...... 


Italian & Irish women, - 


Woman with a broken arme, - 


Colton poore woman, ------ 


Mrs Wollaston, 


Shestock woman delivered under a park pale, 


The womb forced open by straining, ... 


E. W., 


A woman delivered after shee was buried, 




Goodwife Yates of Darby, - 



The Lady Zouch, --.._.. 


Zacutus Lusitanus, - _ 




Observations in Midwifery, by 

An Additionall Table. 


Abortion, 263 

Women, that, after abortion, conceived, and were in due time 
delivered, and, after that deliverance, ejected the reliques 
of the abortion a foregoing, - - - 263 see 265 

The after-birth, - - 11—116 &c— 222— 235— 236— 237 

Afterbirth to bee fetched as soon as the child is borne, and how 

to fetch it, 236—26—27 

What to do after the afterbirth is fetched, - - - - 28 

When some part of the after-birth remaines what to do, - 28 

Strang afterbirths, 50 — 166 &c 

What to do, when afterbirth offereth it self before the child bee 

borne, 168 &c— 238 

To expell the after-burden, - - - - - - 173 

The membrane Amnion, ..... 265 — 3 

Apothecaries, ........ 248 

To mitigate after-paines, - - - - - - 256 

Arme, - .- 55—90—43—120—93—95—97—98— 

99—125—199—208—218—247—249—250 97 &c 

Madame Arnault a Frenchwoman, - 24 

Aron roots, 175 

Dr Audley, 180 

Belly, back, buttocks, 

A Baker's wife at Scrapton, 

Balsamum Hystericum, 


91—120—129—130 &c. 


Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Some children born by the buttocks, - - - 


What first to do in a difficult birth, .... 


To alter the birth by rolling the belly, - 


Mrs Beaumont mightily given to sweetmeats, - 


The bed to deliver women in, ----- - 


A natural! birth made difficult, - 


Two things requisite in a naturall birth, .... 


A birth without the midwife's help, - 


An easy naturall birth, -_-... 39 — 33 


Preparatives for birth, --.-.. 64 


Causes of difficult birth, .... 51 — 52 fee- 


Not to turne the birth to the head, - 


A breach made from the birth into the fundament, 


Cold hinders the birth, ....__ 


Outward passages of the birth-place stopt, 


Eesemblances of the birth, .... 275 — 276— 


Clotters of blood, -------- 


Use of the bolster in delivery, - 75 — 91 — 154. How to bee 

placed, _--.-._. 


Child much entered through the bones in a naturall birth, 


Unnaturall births, - - - - - - -102— 


111 position of bones, - - - - - - -108 &c 

Both bones of arm broke, and did not unite again, - 


Breech taken for the head, - ■ - 


Anne Bradford of Walton midwife, - 


To distinguish buttocks from head, - 


Bones called ossa pubis part not in time of delivery as Pareus 

will have it, and Dr Harvey also, - 


Naturall and unnaturall birth, - - - 




Observations in Midwifery, by 

Madam Louyce Boarges, -._... 


Ill conformation of the bones, - 109 — 80 — 11 

Cancer in the womb taken for a child, - 

2 &c 


Cancerous tumours, - - - - - - -227- 


At what age cancers happen to women, - - - 


An Aphorisme of Hippocrates about cancers, 


Cauda Mulierum, -------- 


Child sticks not to the back or side, as some midwives talk, 


How it lies in the womb, __-_-_ 


The reason why the child would bee out of the womb, 


Child scrabling with his fingers at the mouth of the womb, 22- 


Child comming crosse as midwives say, - 


To know whether the child bee alive or dead, - 


A child born in a ditch, ------- 


A child born in the grave, - - - - 


A naturall foole with child hanged, for being delivered of an 

abortion, nobody being by - - - - - 273 &c 

A giant-like child, ------- 


Child too great, -------- 


Mercatus against cutting children, - 


Oile of charity, -------- 


Things to draw forth the child, ------ 


A woman with child when no passage for seed into the womb, 


Women, that thought themselves with child, who yet were not, 

and continued barren ever after, - - 266 — 267— 


A child carried two yeares and above in the womb, 


To know when the child is weak, - 


Overgrown children, - - - . - - - -88 


Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 



- 3—265 


- 63—5 


A rash, ignorant chirurgeon, - 

To abate the paines of childbearing, 

The membrane chorion, ----- 

It groweth to the secondine, - - - - 

What the chorion is like when the after birth is fetched, 

The benefit of clysters before travaile, - 5 — 18 

An example of a clyster, - 

The quantity of it, 

Margaret Cliffe, ------ 

111 succes of a clyster given before labour, 

Clyster pipe, ....... 

Oscoccygis, - 76—80—81—106—110—109 

Conceptions, brought forth whole, with membranes, most natural!, 40 


202 &c— 83 






- 88—89 


88 &c 




Against a convolvulus, - 

Convulsions, __.__.. 

To deliver speedily in convulsions, 
Goodwife Cole, __..__. 
What posture best in using the crochet - 
When safest to draw the child with the crochet, - 
The fashion of the crochet, - 
Child drawn with the crochet, - 
To draw with the crochet, 114—127—150—152—153. 
gerous, __--_-- 
To distinguish paines of colick from paines in travaile, ■ 
To recover one grown cold after delivery, 
Mercatus against cutting children, - 


Some new thing in every delivery, 




Observations in Midwifery, by 

3 humours come away before the time of delivery, - - 13 

No separation of Ilium from os sacrum in time of delivery, 15 — 16 

Severall wayes of delivery, and which best, 18 — 73 — 74 — 153 — 154 

What to bee done before delivery, - - - 37 &c — 19 — 41 

What at delivery, what after, - - - 28—29—25—26 

A souldier's wife in Ireland delivered without any help, • 34 &c 

A woman delivered in a common, - - - - - 35 

Another in a wood, __.---_ 35 

A powder to promove delivery, - - - - - 60 

Good to keep bed long, after delivery, - - - - 213 

A woman delivered in a park, nobody by, - 233 

Another delivered in a lane, - 234 

An easy delivery, -------- 274 

Too much drines, - .... 102—105—107 

Midwives to use no enforcement, ----- 9 

Why this book in English, ------ 2 

Effluxion, . . . 263 

Excoriations in the womb, - - - - - - 222 

Fainting fits, -------- 211 &c 

Sometimes the birth unfortunate by the feet, - - - 148 

Mrs. F. of Hopton, 58 

Fluxes of blood, 176 &c 

A medicine to stop a flux, - - - - - - 179 

Watery flux, 184—185 

Flouding most endangers the mother, - - - - 196 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


The child's feet in the womb, - 


To help flouding, .-__.__ 


Womb alwayes open in fluxes, --_--_ 


When flouding comes from vagina uteri, and what to do then, 188- 


A course of physick for that purpose, - - - -188- 


Bloody fluxes from whence, • -. 


In great bloody fluxes to deliver speedily, 


Fluxes of blood frequently fatall, - - - - 187 fee- 


Distilled water of hog's dung good for a flux, - 190 — 201 see 255 

When flux comes from inner part of womb, what to do, 193 — 196- 


Fluxes after delivery, ------- 


For a flux of blood, 231- 


When foetus would come out of the womb, 


Some new thing in extraction of every dead foetus, 


Better learned by seeing than reading, - 


Water cause of delivery of a dead, putrefied foetus, - - 132- 


A Foetus solely contributing to his own release, 


Verba Nicolai Fontani, ------ 


Forcible vigour of a lively foetus, - 


A naturall foole, __-_-.- 


Foot, 122—124—142—208—209- 


Strang moisture out of fundament in time of delivery, 


Child full of gangrene blisters, - - - - - 



Gentlenes to bee used in laying women, - - - - 


Mrs Grant, --------- 



Haling of women naught, - - 6 — 8 — 9 — 32 — 33 — 54- 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

The hand better then crochet, &c - - - 149 — 57 

One hand, ---_-_■_. 89 

Hands and feet, _._..._.. 146 &c 

To distinguish between hand, foot, thigh, - - - 134 — 163 

Handy operation intent of this treatise, - 1 

Dr Hatton, - - - 180 

Great head, .... 46—75—125—59-127 

Head bending, -------- 76 

Head, - - - 77—80—81—82—84—86—123—124—125 

Skin of child's head swoln, into which the braines were squeezed, 85 

Dr Harvey commended, - - - - - 118 — 119 

How to get child's head out when it remaines alone in the 

womb, - 149—150 &c 

To prevent separating of the head from the shoulders, - 150 

What to do when the head is forth, and the rest of the body sticks, 154 

What to do when you cannot draw the head out with the crochet, 157 

A distorted head, - - 163 — 166 

A great mistake about a child's head, - - 164- — 132 — 134 

What to do when the head is past the bones, and can get no 

farther/ _._--..- 58 

An honeycomb, -..-.._. 357 — 258 

Goodwife Hood, 268 

Hurtles after delivery, - - - - - - - 128 

Hydrocephalus, - - - - - - - - 127 

The tunicle hymen, 258 — 259 — 260 

A woman with child that had that tunicle, - - - 261 


Thomas James's wife, - - - - - - - 35 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Jennings the Apothecary, 


A medicine for the Iliack passion, - 


Impostumation on the navel of a woman, ... 


Impostume after delivery, - - - - 


A great person in Ireland, ------ 


"Wild Irish break ossa pubis of female infants, 


Wild Irish how delivered, - - 


Weak infant how knowne, 


No such thing as coccyx broke in maids in Italy, 



A woman of Kegworth, ------- 


Doctor Kettleby, ------- 


Knees, 91 — 126- 



Forerunners of labour, ------ 


To prepare women for labour, ------ 


To facilitate labour, ------- 


A letter, --------- 


A woman dwelling nigh Lichfield, - - - • 


For a loosnes, -------- 



Good wife Menil, --_._.. 


Midwife not absolutely necessary, - - - 11 — 31 — 32 


Midwife's office, 5—11 



Books not sufficient to make a good midwife, 12 — 151 — 191— 




Observations in Midwifery, by 

Younger mid wives rebuked, ----- 30 — 72 — 73 

This book containes chiefly the Auctour's own wayes in midwifery, 2 

Cruelty of midwives, 55—119—133—151—153—155— 

156—157 &c— 161— 162 &c— 170— 209— 224— 247 

— 250—251—255—277. How a London midw: made 73 

To dry up the milk, 213 

Too much moisture about passages of the womb dangerous, 103 — 102 

Demola 253 

Mopishnes after hard labour dangerous, - - - 214 — 225 

Moreland the Innkeeper, ._-.-_ 77 

To know when the child commeth naturally, when not, - - 25 

To deliver a woman when the child commeth naturally, - 26 

Navelstring the guide to bring away the secondine, - - 5 

111 to have the navel-string long in the world, - 

Oakewater, -----..-_ 227 

Country observations, - - - - - - - 275 

Salad oile to prepare women's bodies, - - - - 61 

Opening of dead bodies ordinary in Prance and Holland, - 254 


To distinguish paines of travaile from those of colick, cancerous 

tumours, &c _-_-__. 5 

Pil. pacifica, __--___- 175 

De partu nullo, .--..-.__ 266 

Pessaries not reach the place from whence flouding comes, - 202 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 

Piles, caused by hard labour, cured, 
John Plimer's wife, - - 



A Countesse voided something like stalks of raisins, - - 181 
A doubtfull remedy in a desperate disease better then none, 216 — 236 
Pareus his way of delivering some women by ribbands, - 120 

Goodwife Eight, 250 

Eisings in the body like hurtles, - ... 128 


A scholemaster's wife, ---__.. £9 

Scouring in first seven dayes generally fatall, - - - 217 — 237 
A medicine for a scouring, - - -•- . -'218 

The secondine grows to the botom of the womb while the woman 

is with child, -----__ 2 

Upper part of it, ------- _ 3 

Middle part of it, ------- 4 

Matter of the secondine, - ibid 

Cesarean section, - - - - - - . 101 

Shoulder fixed in the birth, - - - - - - 75 

When the skin of a child flayes off in the womb, - .- 85 

Skins comming away in child-bed dangerous, - - - 225 

Skull divided, 108 

A child's skull taken out of an impostumated side, - - 266 
Secondines that twins are inclosed in, - 46 

Child born inclosed in the secondine, ... 40 

Sleeping after delivery, --..... 214 — 234 




Observations in Midwifery, by 

To cause sleep, - ------ 

A must loathsome smell of a dead child, 

Sneezing to promove the birth, - - - 

When the Auctor left Stafford, - 

Mrs Staynes, ------- 

Pulvis stegnoticus, ------ 

Stones, wrapt in slime, and skins, from the bladder, 
Stones wrapped in flesh and skins, 
Superfetation, - - - 

Sutures of a child's head firm, aud hard, 
For a swelling, - - 


Infusion of tin in white wine, - 

What to bee done when travaile approacheth, 

For thirstines, ------- 

Signes of travaile approaching, 

A forerunner of travaile, - 

Medicines not to bee too soone given to promove travaile, 

An hard scirrhous tumour in one side of the womb, 

A tumour as big as a peny loaf in the womb, 


Not good to have vagina uteri softish, - 

Cancerous ulcer, ------- 

Vomiting in labour, and after delivery not to bee liked, 


Breaking of waters in women with child, ... 









Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


No delivery of a woman till womb open, and waters, in 


be issued, _..„_- 



If infant come with waters, birth more easy, 


Danger of waters untimely let forth, - • 

20 — S 



Two or 3 gallons of water voided 5 dayes before delivery, 



Waters, dribling long, what they signifie, 

- Yt 



When to let out the waters though not broken, 



Driblings of the water most endanger the child, 



New waters, ..._... 



What to bee done in By-waters, as midwives call them, 



Strang blasts of wind from the womb in time of. delivery, 




Winstandly, ..._._- 



A self-willed woman, ------ 




Weaknes of woman to bee delivered, 



Violent motion hurtfull to women with child, 



Women, dying in childbed, not to bee suddenly buried, 



A woman, dead over night, delivered next morning, 



The womb, _..__-- 



Outward orifice of the womb closed, and how cured, 


242 &c 

Best and safest way to preserve a weak woman in extremity, 


Neck of the womb, being scirrhous, cured, 



But hardly beleeved, -.._-. 



Womb fallen down, and after cut off, - 




Womb keeps not alwayes one certain site, 



*Willughby, Mrs., Midwife. 













There bee diverse births mentioned by severall Auctors, with their 
various formes of the child proceeding forth of the womb, expressed, 
and shewed by their schemes. 

All which may bee reduced to two, either to the head, or to the 


The birth, comming by the head, is called a naturall birth. The 
birth by the feet is called by midwives an unnaturall birth. 

To these may be added the birth by the buttocks, which is not 


And by one of these three wayes all women bee delivered. 

But, for that the birth, comming by the buttocks, may bee easily 
altered, and that the infant may bee brought forth by the feet ; as also, 
for that this birth hath been fatal to some women, and may again prove 
dangerous to others, miles it bee turned to the feet, I therefore say, 
that all births bee produced either by the 

Head or by the feet, 

All unnaturall births comming by the arme, belly, or back, side, 
or buttocks, or by the knees, or with a distorted neck, may easily and 
quickly bee brought to the feet. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

And by the feet of the infant (miles the birth bee monstrous, or 
much besides the usuall limits of nature) an understanding midwife may 
quickly deliver her labouring woman of all unnaturall births (shee hav- 
ing no ill conformation of the bones, occasioned by the rickets, or too 
narrow a passage, or by other unusuall infirmities, or tumours, or sores 
in the genitall parts) although shee have no throwes to assist nature for 
the thrusting forth of the birth, by drawing the infant gently by the 

The birth by the feet usually proveth good, and fortunate, so that 
the midwife knoweth, and understandeth the well ordering of the de- 

Let midwives read what hath been written in my observations, let 
them consider diligently the severall reports, not fained, or taken upon 
the supposition, or the surmized thoughts of Auctors, or man's fantasy, 
sitting and meditating in his study ; but on that, which really de facto 
hath been performed by mee in the travailing woman's chamber (through 
God's assistance, and his gracious permission) before severall midwives, 
by mee assisted, and other women there present. 

And God Almighty, in mercy, give, and increase to midwives 
their knowledg, and understandings, with much tender affections, and 
willingnes to comfort; and help all their suffering, and distressed 
women, desirous of their assistance in the afflicted time of their travaile, 
as well the poor, as the rich. 

And let midwives know, That they bee nature's servants, let them 
alwayes remember, That gentle proceedings (with moderate warm keep- 
ing, and having their endeavours dulcified with sweet words) will best 
ease, and relieve, and soonest deliver their labouring women ; after that 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


their bodies bee prepared, and fitted for their labours, by gentle clysters, 
which must bee but little for quantity (not past six ounces) a little 
warmed, and given luke-warm, the which must bee retained as long as 
possibly may bee, for the better bringing forth of the common excrements, 
which might obstruct the passage; and to supple, and to dilate the way, 
for the making of a more easy delivery; unles nature of it self doth 
performe this work, by giving of a loose stoole, or two, before the 
approaching labour. In which case clysters, or other medicaments may 
bee forborne. 

And let the midwife (before shee commeth to her pallet-bed, or 
knees) perswade the labouring woman to make water, so that the fulnes 
of the bladder may not straiten the waves of delivery. 

And, for the labouring woman's chamber, let it bee made dark, 
having a glimmering light, or candle-light placed partly behind the 
woman, or on one side, and a moderate warming fire in it, and let it not 
bee filled with much company, or many women; five, or six women 
assisting will bee sufficient. 

And, having her body anointed with Balsamum Hystericum, let 
her now and then (if shee please) walk gently in her chamber, or to lie 
quietly on her bed, untill Dame nature (Eve's good midwife) shall will 
her to lie on her bed, or to come to her knees, for her more quick, and 
easy delivery. 

Every Countryman knoweth (through his observations) That each 
fruit (bee it apple, peare, or plumb, nut, or acorn) that when it is full 
ripe, that it will drop off it self without shaking of the tree. 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

But, that green, immature fruits will not bee soon brought down, 
but that the shaking violently cloth oft break the branches. 

And so putting women to labour before fitting time, together with 
haling, and enforcing their bodies, doth no good, but hurt, and hindereth 
their delivery, and oft ruinates the mother, with the infant, by lacerations, 
and the forcible struglings of the midwife. 

And I would have no medicines given to force throwes, miles 
nature faint, and that towards the end of the travaile. 

I have read many bookes, with all the late writers in midwifery, 
and I do perceive that they all keep, and follow one common road, taking 
their severall schemes, or figures, with the explanations of them, one 
from another, changing nothing from the dictates of their foregoers. 

In severall of these schemes various things may bee perceived, 
which will bee troublesome to any labouring woman, which a judicious 
practicer well observing will not follow, or approve necessary to be usefull, 
for that they will, no way, comfort, or help the labouring woman. See 
the schemes in what I have varied from their opinions. 

From mine, or their directions let midwives chuse the best, and 
facilest wayes for the relieving, and easing their women in affliction. 

And, to decide all various disputes, let reason bee the Juclg, let 
opinion, and experience argue the dubious doubts, and wayes of practice 
in midwifery, and, after a full debate, let unspotted truth record for 
succeeding times, what is most fit to be followed, and used. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


And for that all women bee delivered, usually, either lying on a 
pallet-bed, or kneeling upon a bolster ; if the woman bee weak, a pallet- 
bed may. bee thought the most convenient place. 

But, if shee bee strong, and of an able body, and the child lively, 
I then know no cause contradicting, why shee may not bee as well, or, 
rather, better laid kneeling on a bolster, then lying on a pallet-bed, when 
that her body is fitted for the birth ; with this caution, so that shee will 
not bee overruled by the midwife, to make too much hast to come unto 
her knees for her delivery. 

For, in so doing, the ignorant midwife will take occasion (least 
that shee should bee thought to bee idle in her calling) by too much 
strugling, or haling, to make the birth (which, of it self, would bee easy, 
and quickly laid) to become difficult, and of long continuance, and very 
dolorous to the woman. 

I have known that it hath proved a great happines to some poor 
women, for whose delivery the midwife did not make too sudden hast, 
that they have been better, and easier delivered in the midwife's absence, 
through nature's force, then, in probability, they would have been with 
her assistance, as severall of my observations will make manifest. 

And in such creatures, as desire to conceale their great bellies, 
that these have been helped better without midwives, by nature's force, 
and sooner delivered, then honest, good women, that have suffered the 
struglings, and the too much hasty officiousnes of conceited midwives. 

When all the gates bee set open by nature, and there is no 
obstructive hinderance left in the way, the retentive faculty being 
weakened, and the expulsive made strong; then nature will thrust forth, 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

with ease, whatsoever is in the body retained, which confirmeth the 
sayings of good Auctours, That the longer the woman retaineth, and 
retardeth the birth, the easier, and more succesfull proveth the delivery. 

Therefore I have adviced some women, that have formerly suffered 
much bitternes, and pain by their hasty midwives proceedings, not to bee 
too forward to thrust themselves into their midwives hands, and not to 
let the midwife force them to sit on her stoole, or woman's lap, or to 
come to their knees, nor to touch them, more than to anoint their bodies, 
untill the waters should flow of themselves, without any enforcement 
from the midwife ; and that, with their owne fingers, they could touch 
the child's head ; and yet, for all this forwardnes of approaching delivery, 
not to hasten to their knees, before strong, through throwes did come 
upon them, to force forward the birth ; assuring them, That it was no 
part of the midwife's office to force the birth, her part and duty was 
onely to receive the child. 

Many women have given mee thanks for such directions, telling 
mee, That, in observing of them, they had found much ease, with a 
better delivery, then, formerly, they have had. 

In a naturall birth, the labouring woman, kneeling at a convenient 
and fitting time, in a bending posture, holding her hands about another 
woman's neck, that sitteth afore her, having a pillow laid on her lap, on 
which the labouring woman, resting her belly, will have much command 
of her self, and of her belly, in this bending posture; and more, then if 
shee did sit on a woman's lap, or on the midwife's stoole ; for that the 
birth will bee pressed somewhat forward by the pillow, and her own 
thighes ; and, through this bending posture, shee will bee the speedier. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


delivered, leaving the midwife nothing more to do, then to receive the 

And the woman, that sitteth afore her, on whose neck shee leaneth, 
may much ease her, by putting her hands under the woman's amies, the 
better to staj^, and bear up her body, as shee kneeleth. 

In all unnaturall births, comming with the feet forwards, the 
woman will not bee so well delivered, unles shee kneeleth on a bolster, 
in a bending posture, during the time of her delivery, aud the midwife 
to bee placed behind the woman, to help the woman, by gentle drawing 
the child by the feet. 

In all births (whether natural, or unnatural) where there is need 
to alter, and turn the birtii to another posture, the woman will not 
conveniently bee delivered, unles shee kneeleth on a bolster, and have 
her head put down in a slope descending posture, to rest on a pillow, 
placed on a woman's lap, sitting before her on the bed, for the better 
returning of the child back again into the womb, and for the getting of 
a larger passage, to find out, and to fetch forth the feet of the child, the 
which cannot well bee don, as shee lyeth on her back, overthvvart the 
bed; in which posture shee must bee kept, untill the midwife hath 
brought forth the feet of the infant, and hath received them in a soft 
linen cloth, for the easier holding, and drawing forth of the feet. 

Then let the midwife raise up the labouring woman's head, and 
keep her knees in a slope, bending posture, ascending, with her hands 
holden about the woman's neck, that was sitting on the bed afore her. 

In which posture let the midwife keep the woman kneeling, untill 
shee hath drawn the child forth unto the loines, then (if need require) 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

sliee must turue the infant's face towards the back of the woman, and 
afterwards draw gently again, untill the infant bee brought to the 
shoulders, or to the neck. 

Then the midwife must slide up her hands between the woman's 
backbone, and the child's face, and put her middle linger a little way 
into the child's mouth, to presse down the chin into the child's throat, 
and after placing her other two fingers on each side of the child's nose, 
so draw forth the child's head, gently, and leasurely ; holding by the 
child's body, or feet, as shee draweth, untill sliee hath brought it forth. 

And I humbly thank God, that I ever found this way good, and 
easy to bee performed for the woman's safety in the delivery, and ever 
prosperous for the saving of the child's life. 

In false conceptions, and small abortments, let not the midwife 
trouble the woman in being too busy, with her too much officiousnes, to 
bring it away, for that nature, and her own strength, with quiet keeping, 
and comfortable warmnes, will soonest free her of these sufferings, by 
driving them forth, without any other enforcement from the midwife's 

And the after-burden will ever bee better found, and drawn away 
as the woman kneeleth, then it can bee as shee lyeth on her back upon 
her pallet-bed. 

And, untill I am convinced of any mistake in this way of delivery 
of unnaturall births by the child's feet, let all practicers in midwifery 
suffer mee, without feare, to maintain, That any unnaturall birth may 
easier, and more speedier bee laid by a judicious, and well practiced 
midwife, comming by the feet, then it can bee by turning the birth to 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


the head, to bee delivered in a naturall posture. The striving to turn the 
birth will increase the woman's sorrows, and the midwife's enforcements 
will multiply her afflictions, by endeavouring to turn away the birth from 
the feet, to bring it by the head. 

I affirme, That where I have found the infant to have had a great 
head, and a larg body, that there I have turned back the head, and have 
fetched down the feet, and so have quickly delivered the woman, and so 
have saved the infant's life. 

Whereas, otherwise, both mother and child, after a long suffering 
labour, in all probability, would have perished together. 

For by the head, as the infant slideth, or commeth to the birth, an 
understanding midwife knoweth, that with patience shee must wait, and 
stay nature's time, and that all this while that shee cannot take off the 
sharp throwes, and pangs of labor, the which the woman will suffer. 

And it will bee an happines to the labouring woman, if, in the 
interim of time, to these paines an hasty midwife doth not adde severall 
afflictions, through her too much strivings to procure a more speedy 

When the infant commeth unnaturally any way, and more par- 
ticularly by the arm, back, or belly, or with a distorted neck, there the 
midwife, having altered the birth, may soon deliver the woman by the 
child's feet, as shee kneeleth, by gentle, and easy drawing it downwards, 
(as it hath been oft made manifest by my practice) although shee bee 
not in pain, and have not throws to force, or drive forth the infant. 

And this way of practice in all difficult births to deliver women 
by the child's feet, I shall wish all midwives to follow, untill it shall bee 
disallowed by manifest reasons, and daily practice. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

Humanum est errare I may bee deceived, but I suppose that I 
have not wandered from the truth, and that I have taken the direct, and 
readiest way for the delivery of women, having had two judicious 
Associates to accompany mee in these travailes (long practice, and 
confirmed experience) both which have been followed with good successe, 
and found approved true in the labouring woman's chamber, and seen 
by mee experimentally performed by severall midwives, and women there 

I will willingly give thanks to any one, that will shew mee my 
mistakes, or that would take some pains to set forth a more eas} 7 , and 
safer passage for the birth of children, and for the woman's good, and 
safety, in dulcifying the terrours, and sufferings of delivery, too oft made 
dolorous, and sometime destructive, by the unadvised doings of ignorant 



The schemes, and figures of the birth, with their various postures. 

In a naturall birth, when the infant's head shall proceed first, with 
the rest of the body in a due order, and where the mother is strong, and 
the child lively, and the woman fittingly prepared, and ordered for her 
bed, or knees, with the anointing of the passages belonging to the birth, 
and keeping her body warm; 

There let not the midwife use any enforcing to bring forth the 
child, but commit all the ensuing work to God's mercy, and time, for 
the bringing forth of the birth, and hee will assist nature (whose onely 
w r ork it is) for the bringing forth of the infant. 

After the head is born, if the child, through the greatnes of the 
shoulders, should stick at the neck, let the midwife put her finger under 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


the child's armpit, and give it a nudg, thrusting it to the other side with 
her finger, drawing the child, or may quickly bring forth the 
shoulders, without offering to put it forth by her hands clasped about 
the neck, which might endanger the breaking of the neck. 

In this birth the midwife's office, or duty is no more, but to attend 
patiently on nature's wayes, and to bee ready to receive the child, and 
afterwards to help (if need require) to draw forth the after-burden, and 
to see that the mother, and the child have fitting accommodations. 

Where the head and body of the child, in a naturall birth, bee too 
great for the passage, and when anointing with unguents, or oiles, and 
sneezing with powders, and the woman's endeavours, and enforcements 
afford no help, then the midwife must turn back the head, and bring the 
birth to the feet, as shee kneeleth in a slope, descending posture ; and 
by the feet let the midwife produce the infant, as the labouring woman 
kneeleth on the bolster, and having turned the birth, let her then raise 
the woman's head unto a slope, ascending posture, and then afterwards 
to draw the child forth by the feet. 

Let the midwife oft anoint the woman's body with convenient 
oiles, or ointments, to cause a more easy sliding of the child, that the 
woman's sufferings may bee the sooner ended. 

Sometimes the child comes naturally with the head formost, but 
the head is placed amisse, having the neck bowed, and it stands awry, 
leaning towards the flanks, or otherwise, which makes that the child 
cannot come forth in? a straight, and direct line. 

The child being thus turned, it is very hard, yea even impossible, 
that the mother should bee delivered, either through any endeavours of 
the child, or by any labour of the woman's enforcings, although shee 

Head and 

body (oo 



A crooked 





Observations in Midwifery, by 

strive, and strain her self very much, by holding in her breath, or by 
usiug any other waves; for the more the child strives to come forth, the 
more hee entangles, and wreaths his neck, and, by this strugling, hee 
makes himself, and his mother weak, through the paines, they both 

And this birth will not bee well helped any other way, but by 
turning the birth unto the feet, and with using the slope, bending posture, 
descending, wildest that the woman kneeleth on the bolster. 

Guillimeau willeth, That the woman bee laid overthwart a bed, for 
the better convenience of the chirurgion, or midwife, and to have a 
bolster put under her head, her back being a little raised, and her hips 
lifted up somewhat higher, with pillows laid under them, and her hinder 
parts to lie within half a foot of the bed's side ; and then the chirurgion, 
with his anointed fingers, must thrust upwards the body of the child, 
either by the shoulders, or breast, or by the back, so that, by these 
meanes^, the neck of the child will even come of it self to the right 

And, for the better help of the chirurgion, at the same instant hee 
shall slide in his other hand (yet not taking out the former) where with 
finding the place where the head doth rest, and leane, hee may easily 
draw his hand towards the side of the child's head, and so shall hee 
bring it gently to the naturall place, and, by these meanes, the child's 
head will rest between his hands, to bee set right. 

Our late Auctours follow Guillimeau' s directions, to thrust up the 
shoulders of the infant, that the head may fall down to the orifice of the 
womb, as being nearest to it. And hee saith, That, if there bee any 
other way attempted, shee must bee brought back to the bed, and rolled, 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


and so stirred, untill the infant shall come to a more commodious forme 
of birth. 

This rocking, and rolling the woman on the bed, is the lest 
affliction, that the midwife putteth the woman unto. It may casually 
alter the birth, but I beleeve, that it seldome, or never doth it. 

As for the placing of the woman on a bed, according to 
Guillimeau's direction, I know that it will bee terrible to the woman, to 
bee held with violence, wildest that the chimrgion operateth. 

Also, I conceive this bed to bee useles for the chirurgion's conve- 
nience, for hee cannot reach the woman's body at so remote a distance, 
shee lying half a foot from the bed's side. 

Furthermore, hee cannot, as shee lyeth, well put back the child, 
for that the work will lie under his hand, and the child will rather come 
upon him, than fall from his hands. 

And lastly, to have both the hands of the chirurgion, at the same 
time, in the woman's body, to receive the child's head between his 
hands, to set it right, must needs mightily extend, and enlarg the 
woman's body, and how this will fefe done, without great stretching, and 
tearing those places, I cannot well imagine. 

I conceive, in this delivery, that it will bee a better way, and with 
more ease by the midwife to bee performed, to have the woman to 
kneele on an high, hard bolster, and to put the woman's head down in 
a slope, descending posture unto a pillow laid in a woman's lap, sitting 
afore her; afterward, to slide up her anointed hand into the woman's 
body, and to fetch forth the child's feet, and so to lay her, by drawing 
by the feet, as it hath often been expressed, in diverse of my observa- 
tions, seen by mee performed. 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

When the midwife hath gently drawn the child by the feet unio 
the knees, then to raise up the woman's head, and let the labouring 
woman he placed forthwith in a slope, bending posture, ascending, and 
let her hold the woman with her hands about the neck, that was sitting 
afore her. So will the midwife more easily draw forth the rest of the 
infant's body without strugling, or enforcement, not any way hurting, 
or tearing the woman. 

I know, that this way will prove more easy for the woman's 
delivery, and better to bee performed by the chirurgion, or midwife, to 
find the child's feet as shee kneeleth, and, by them, to bring the birth 
forwards, than to strive to put back the birth, by the shoulders, or 
breast, to place the head in a right posture, to receive it between the 
hands for a naturall birth. 

In all births, laid by the feet, the child's face must ever bee turned 
to the back of the woman. Otherwise, the child's chin will bee endan- 
gered to bee catched by the share-bone, and then it will be a difficult 
busines to fetch off the head, and to save the child's life. 

How to turne the child's face to the back of the woman, and when 
to do it, as also how, with safety, the child's head will bee brought forth, 
the following unnaturall birth will make manifest. 

In all births, after the infant is bora, let the midwife shake the 
after-birth from side to side, gently holding by the navel-string, after- 
wards, to put up her anointed hand, and to gather the after birth into 
her hand, and to hold it easily, without squeezing, then let her cause the 
woman to cough, boken, or sneeze, and this motion, with easy drawing, 
will drive forth hand, and after-birth together. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Feet with 
the hands 
ed down- 
wards by 
the sides. 


When the infant commeth to the birth with both his feet forward, 
and his hands stretched downward, lying by his sides; do not disquiet 
the woman, by drawing up the child's legs, to bring downe the child's 
head, in hopes of a naturall birth, neither take care to secure the infant's 
armes, that it may not have power to draw them back againe. 

But, in this birth, let the midwife place the woman, kneeling on a 
bolster, in a convenient, slope, bending posture, ascending. 

And let the labouring woman hold her hands about another 
woman's neck, sitting afore her. 

And, having her body anointed with fitting oiles, or unguents, to 
cause a more easy sliding of the child, let the midwife place herself be- 
hind the woman, and take the child's feet in a warm, soft, linen cloth; 
let her draw leasurely by the feet, untill it come to the loines. And, in 
the drawing, if that the midwife perceive, that the child's face is not 
towards the woman's back, after that the child is brought forth to the 
loines, there let the midwife take the body of the child, and wrap it in a 
soft, linen cloth, and, holding it easily between her hands, let her gently 
turn the body, and set the child's face against the woman's back. 

The child's body, thus held, will easily bee turned, without any 
let, or trouble to the woman, or danger to the child. 

After this, let the midwife draw again leasurely, untill the child 
shall come to the upper part of the shoulders, or to the neck. 

Then, let the midwife slide up her anointed hand between the 
child's face, and the rump-bone of the mother's back, and put her middle 
finger a little way into the child's mouth, to presse the child's chin 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

Upon the 
belly, or 

against the 



See this 

Auct. obs. 
pag. 92. 

and some 
part of 

the hand 

above the 

head. ib. 

Feet with 
the hands 
lifted up 
above the 

downward to the pit of the child's throat, and, afterward, to place her 
two ringers on each side of the nose, and so shee will keep the neck of 
the womb open from closing about the child's neck, and free the infant 
from die danger of being throtled, or strangled. 

After this, then, let the midwife desire some assisting woman to 
place a flat hand upon the child's head, and gently to presse forward the 
departing infant, at that time, when the midwife draweth leasurely by 
the child's feet, or some other woman for her. 

Thus, with the assisting woman's help, the labouring woman will 
quickly bee delivered of this unnaturall birth, and the child safely born, 
without the pulling off the head, or breaking the child's neck, or any 
way endangering the child's life. 

When the infant commeth with his feet forward, and the hands 
lifted up above the head ; 

Let not the midwife thrust back the infant's feet into the womb, 
in hopes to turn it, and to bring it to a naturall birth by the head : 

But, as afore directed, and in a slope, bending posture, ascending, 
to deliver the woman by the child's feet, without striving to bring down 
an arm or armes. 

But if, to no purpose, the midwife hath a desire to bring down the 
arm, or armes, shee may easily do it, by putting up her fingers above the 
child's shoulder, and drawing the arme by it. 

The child's armes bee apt, of themselves, to come down, without 
enforcement, before that the child's body is brought to the shoulders, or 

Peicivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


But Pareus counselleth, when that the child commeth by the feet, 
to keep up an arm, saying, That one of his armes must bee stretched out 
above his head, and the other down by his side. For, otherwise, the 
orifice of the womb, when it were delivered of such a grosse trunk (as 
it would bee, when his body should be drawn out with his armes along 
by his sides) would so shrink, and draw it self together, when the body 
should come unto the neck (onely by the accord of nature requiring 
union) that it would strangle, and kill the child. 

Guillimeau, the French King's chirurgion, saith, If both the 
armes bee stretched out above the head, you shall bring down one of 
them close to the side, and let the other stay stretched out, that, when 
the shoulders are come forth, the said arm may bee (as it were) a stay, 
or splint to the neck, for the passage of the head, to hinder the neck of 
the womb from closing up, and fastening about the neck of the child, 
and to hinder the child from comminff forth : 

For the arm, or armes, being lifted up over the child's head, will 
keep the womb from closing about the neck of the child ; whereby the 
infant will bee secured from the danger of strangling, and the neck from 
being broken, and the head from being separated from the shoulders. 

The finger, put into the child's mouth, with the rest of the 
directions, followed, will also withstand all these dangers, and casualties, 
and will help to save the infant's life. 

When the infant commeth forth with one foot onely, and the 
armes let down to the sides, and the other foot turned backward, 

In this birth, you need not to bring the woman to her bed, to 
tumble thereon (unles it bee to ease herself) before shee bee willing to 

One foot 

the armes 

letdown to 

the sides. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

come to bee delivered; And, having placed the woman kneeling in a 
slope, bending posture, ascending, I would not have you to offer to turn 
up the foot, that is come forth, into the womb again ; but to take the 
foot in a soft, warm, linen cloth, and by that foot to draw gently, and 
leasurely, untill the body of the child commeth nigh unto the twist; or 
buttock ; and then (if not afore) you shall perceive where the other foot 
stayeth, the which you may easily draw down, or remove with your finger, 
and afterward, quickly lay her by the feet, observing, and following the 
directions of the first unnaturall figure, &c. ' 

Side or 



In this birth you will do no good by rolling the woman on the 
bed, or by strugling to turn the child up, to bring it to a naturall birth, 
by your hand. 

A_nd why should an ignorant midwife, by unadvised wayes, disquiet, 
and long torment, to no purpose, her afflicted woman : and to make a 
worse birth, when that, without struglings, shee might well deliver 
her woman by the child's feet (as hath been directed) in very short space 
of time. 

"When the infant lyeth crosse the womb, on it's side, or back, with 
the hands and feet upwards ; in this posture it is not possible that the 
child should bee born. 

Disquiet not the labouring woman with struglings, to bring it to 
a true form, or naturall birth, by lifting up the buttocks, and directing 
the head to the birth, or by rolling herself upon the bed. 

But, by the feet (as hath beeue directed) in a slope, bending 
posture, ascending, deliver the woman. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


"For the putting of the woman to roll on the bed doth, not help 
the delivery. It is no better then a demurrer, or a shrouding cloak, to 
cover the midwife's ignorance. 

Tor the infant to hasten to the birth with the armes and legs 
distorted, and crooked, I hold this birth to bee a supposed imagination, 
and that there never was seen, or known any such birth, or comming 
of a child in this dancing posture. 

Yet, if midwives will have their wills, and that there may bee such 
a birth, the same will soon bee laid by the child's feet. 

If the infant shall fall down with both the knees bent, and the 
hands hanging down to the thighes, or sides, do not strive to force the 
knees upwards, untill the feet happen to come forth formost. 

Neither bee persuaded, that rolling on the bed will bring the 
infant to a more commodious posture. 

As the woman kneeleth, in a slope, bending posture, ascending, 
by your fingers you may easily bring down the legs, and so, by the feet 
of the child, the woman may quickly bee delivered. 

The child should come into the world with his head forward, and, 
if there bee any thing, that comes with it, as the hands, and arme, it is 
contrary to nature. 

This is the birth, which most amazeth, and puzleth midwives, 
and bringeth into their thoughts unhandsome performances, so that, 
without all tender compassion, after they have much afflicted the woman, 
and have destroyed the child, they become bold, with forcible halings, to 
pull off the armes, and shoulders of children into severall pieces in the 
mother's womb, to bring forth the body, thus killing the child, and, oft, 
the mother with it. 

Arms and 





or Arm. 




Observations in Midwifery, by 

And, if the mother escapeth with life, yet, frequently, shee liveth 
miserably, and sadly, all the succedent time of her life. 

Mrs. Jane Sharp, midwife of thirty yeares apprenticeship, willeth 
the midwife to anoint her hand, and to thrust it up into the womb, to 
feel how the child lyeth, saying, That, sometimes, the child may bee 
drawn out with the hand, and, had shee said no more, shee had well 
deserved of all labouring women. 

But, to shew midwives, how (though in dead children) to pull 
out armes, and to cut them off, as also, how to use, unhandsomely, 
hookes, and incision knives, to cut children in pieces in the mother's 
body, to bring forth the child divided in many parcels, is an horrid work. 
In charity I beleeve, that shee never used this way of practice. 

Some of our country midwives (although long practicers in mid- 
wifery) to save their credits, and for that they would not bee thought 
inferiour, in knowledg, to others, by reading such books, and expressions, 
bee encouraged to follow this way of cruelty, in this unnaturall birth, 
comming by the Arme. 

I will omit to make mention of the evil facts, they have, lately, 
done in eeverall places. 

I wish, with all my soule, that no country woman should have 
this birth, comming by the arme, or have occasion to desire the help of 
such midwives, as to have themselves abused, and their children so 

To amend this unfitting way of practice, in the first place, I shall 
mention, what some men have lately published. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Secondly, what others, long since, have done, after that they have 
found the children destroyed by mid wives. 

And, lastly, I shall set forth my way of practice in this unnaturall 
birth, with which, through God's great mercy, and assistance, I have 
oft eased, and helped severall women (after long suffering under midwives 
hands) in less a time, then half a quarter of an houre, to the great wonder- 
ing of midwives, and other women in the labouring woman's chamber, 
and have saved the children's lives. 

Dr. Philadelphus demands of Mrs. Eutrapelia, what, if the infant 
commeth out hastily, with one hand, and the other hand down toward 
the side, and the feet stretched out straight into the womb, how will you 
receive the infant ? 

The midwife answereth, Sr, I am not at all to receive it so, nor 
to suffer it to proceed farther, but must bring her to the bed, where shee 
must lie lower with her head, then her buttocks. Then, I must swath 
her belly gently, that the infant may fall back again into the womb. 

But, if it fall not back of its own accord, I must put in my hand, 
and presse back the shoulders, and must reduce the arme, that hangeth 
out, to the side, that it may bee disposed of to a naturall forme in the 
womb, and so it may come forth easily. So saith James Wolueridge, 
M.D., in his book, fol. 53. 

Dr. William Sermon willeth, when the child proceedeth headlong, 
with one of his armes first, not to suffer the birth to proceed farther. 
But let the midwife put in her hand, and, gently, by the shoulders put 
up the child again. So the hand thereof may bee setled in the right 
place, by which meanes the child may come naturally. 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

But, if the hand thereof cannot bee brought again to the right 
place, then, causing the woman to lie upright, with her thighes, and belly 
upward, by which meanes it may bee brought to passe. Fol. 130. 

I could wish that these wayes, thus expressed by these worthies, 
might prove effectuall, and have an happy successe, the which, as yet, I 
could not, at any time, see to bee performed. 

But my practice hath shewed mee, That, in severall of these births, 
through the midwives struglings to reduce the arme, that the arm hath 
been broken by them, and the child destroyed, and although, through 
much enforcement, they have reduced the arme, yet, through the 
woman's sufferings, aud the midwife's strivings, the labouring woman 
hath been left so weak, that shee could not bee delivered by the midwife. 

And, to give my opinion, it is to no purpose to reduce the arme, 
as, by my observations, and practice, it may sufficiently bee proved. 

James Guillimeau saith, It may so happen, that the child's arme 
comming formost, through the long stay it makes without, as also, 
because it hath been pulled, by violence, by the midwife, will bee swollen, 
yea and even gangren'd, that it possibly cannot bee thrust back again, 
that the child may bee drawn forth by the feet. That then the arme 
must bee pulled as far forth as it can, and, if it may bee done 
conveniently, let it bee cut off at the joint of the shoulder. 

But let not our midwives attempt any such thing, so long as 
there is any thought, that the child is alive. 

Pareus reporteth, That once hee was called to the birth of an 
infant, whom the midwives had essaied to draw out by the arme, so 
that the arme had been so long forth, that it was gangren'd, whereby 
the child died. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Hee told the midwives, that this arrne must bee put in again, and 
that the child must bee turned otherwise. But when it could not bee 
put back, by reason of the great swellings thereof; and also of the 
mother's genitals, that hee did cut off the arme, which being done, hee 
turned him with his feet forward, and so drew him out by the feet. 

By these men's sayings it doth appear, that they were not willing 
to cut off the armes of children, although the children were dead, if 
possibly they could bee reduced. 

But, if midlives will bee pleased to bee better adviced to save 
their credits, I will, then, shew them how, in this birth, with much ease, 
and safety, they may speedily deliver their women, without tormenting 
them, by struglings to reduce the arme. 

And I shall desire all miclwives, not to pull any child by the arme, 
in hopes so to deliver the woman, and to hate the cutting off the arme, 
or quartering their limbs, to draw them forth piece- meale out of their 
mothers bodies. 

I have known the arm of the child so fixed in the neck of the 
womb, by the midwife's pulling, that the arme hath been immoveable, 
and hath hindered the child's body for turning round, and the child's 
arme for returning, to go up into the woman's body. 

But this let hath been soon removed, by taking the child's elbow 
in my hand, and, by thrusting it a little upward, it hath removed the 
sticking of the shoulder, and hath made way for the turning round of 
the body, and for the easy going up of the child's arme. 

When, therefore, the infant shall come to the birth, with one hand 
appearing, let not the midwife receive this birth, nor disquiet the woman, 
with rolling her on the bed, nor bee too hasty suddenly to procure the 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

delivery ; neither would I have the midwife to offer to thrust back the 
arme, to place it by the infant's side, in hopes to' bring it to a naturall 

But, in this birth, after the anointing of the woman's body with 
convenient oiles, or ointments, let the midwife bring the labouring 
woman, and cause her to kneele on a hard bolster, placed on a bed's 
side, and, afterward, to put down her head in a slope, bending posture, 
descending, to a pillow, placed on a woman's lap sitting afore her on 
the same bed to support her. 

So her body will bee raised up, to give way for the descending of 
the infant into the hollownes of her body, as shee kneeleth in a slope, 
bending posture, descending. 

And the midwife, comming behind the woman, as shee kneeleth, 
let her not offer to reduce the arme, for the bringing of it to the child' s 
side; but to slide up her anointed hand over the child's arme, as it 
hangeth out of the woman's body, putting up still her anointed hand, 
by degrees, untill shee commeth to the child's feet, which usually lie on 
the child's belly, and not stretched out into the womb, as some affirme. 

And, although, in my observations, I have given the midwife 
some light, to know whither her hand passeth, and unto what parts of 
the infant's body, it commeth in these obscure parts, for that shee may 
distinguish the better of the parts of the infant's body by her feeling, as 
the thigh and foot from the arme, and hand ; the back from the belly, 

Shee shall find the back to bee hard, and to have a ridg in it, 
The belly to bee soft, and smooth, 

The arme to bee small, and the hand little, composed of severall 
long fingers, and bending joints ; 

Peicivall Willughbv, Gentleman. 


The thigh and leg to bee grosse, and thick, in respect of the arme, 
and the foot to bee a hard, united, grosse, thick lump, having shoit toes. 

Wow when her hand is put up into the woman's body, if it light 
upon the child's back, let her not pull forth her hand again out of the 
woman's bod} r , but turn it round by the child's side, and it will bring 
her hand to the childs belly, where shee shall find the other hand, and 
both the child's feet, lying together. 

And, having found a foot, let her take hold of it between her fore 
finger, and her middle finger, placing her thumb over her hand griped, 
the better to hold it. 

Let her, then, draw gently, and leasurely by the foot, untill shee 
hath brought the foot forth of the woman's body, then let her take the 
foot in a soft, warm, linen cloth, (the firmer to hold it) and, afterward, 
still to continue drawing, untill it come nigh to the twist of the body, 
or that the buttocks begin to appeare (if that the other leg doth not 
shew it self before where it resteth) 

And, if it so happen, that the midwife should find the other leg 
bended at the knee, or that it should lie on the child's belly, let her 
draw it gently down with her finger, and it will soon bee brought forth 
with easy drawing, and without any enforcement. 

And then (and not afore) to raise up the woman's head, and to 
place the woman kneeling in a slope, bending posture, ascending, 
holding, or leaning with her hands about the woman's neck, that doth 
sit before her. 

And, in this bending posture, let the midwife keep the woman 
kneeling, untill shee hath drawn the child forth unto the loines. 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

Then, if sliee shall find the child's face to bee towards the woman's 
navel, and belly, let her take the body of the child, and, holding it in a 
soft, linen cloth, let the midwife turne the infant's face, gently, toward 
the back of the woman. 

Afterward, to draw easily again, untill the infant shall bee brought 
to the shoulders, or to the neck. 

Then the midwife must put up her hand between the child's face, 
and the rump-bone of the mother's back, and put her middle finger, a 
little way, into the child's month, to presse the chin downward to the 
pit of the child's throat, and to place her other two fingers on each side 
of the nose, to keep open the passage. 

Then may the midwife, having thus placed her fingers, desire some 
assisting woman to place a flat hand upon the child's head, and gently 
to presse forward the departing infant, at that time, when shee draweth 
leasurely by the feet, or some other woman for her, and so the child will 
quickly bee born. 

And, thus ordering the birth, there will be no cause to fear the 
child's life, or the ruinating of the labouring woman's body. 

And the way of a slope, bending posture, ascending is to bee used 
in all births, .comming by the feet, as the woman kneeleth on the 

The other slope, bending posture, descending is onely to bee used 
for the turning of the child, that hath a great head, or body, or to help 
a distorted neck, or to reduce the birth to a more commodious way for 
delivery, as in the birth, where the arm and hand first commeth forth. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


And this slope, bending posture, descending, is no longer to bee 
continued, after that the birth is altered, and the feet obtained, and brought 
forth, but the woman's head is to bee raised, and shee to bee placed in a 
slope, bending posture, ascending. 

And then the rest of the work is to be finished, as shee kneeleth 
on a bolster, in this slope, bending posture, ascending. 

And thus have I set forth the wayes, that I have used for the 
turning of the birth, as also for the helping of all unnaturall births, and 
chiefly, when an arm is first proferred. 

And, to God's glory, and honor, I do affirm, That, taking this 
course, I never, to my remembrance, lost, or endangered any infant, nor 
much disquieted any woman, during the time of her travaile. 

And severall midwives, that have been non-plust, and puzled in 
this birth, for whose help I have been called, by others, to assist the 
midwife, when that shee knew not what to do, or how to deliver the 
woman, will testify what I have said, and performed, to bee true. 

And that I have laid the woman easily, and quickly, that had been 
long tortured by her midwife in this birth, in lesser space, then half a 
quarter of an houre, although the woman had no pain, or throws, to 
assist nature in the time of her delivery. 

And, where the midwife, by her halings, and pullings by the 
child's arme, had not killed the infant before my comming, that there I 
have saved the infant's life, and, by the speedy delivery, have freed the 
woman of her sufferings. 

And, through God's gracious assistance, and permission, I have 
brought forth, and set at liberty the imprisoned infant. 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

Both armes 



But midwives may object, and say; How will the arme, or armes 
bee reduced, that hang forth before the birth, if that you will not permit 
us to put them up ? 

I answer all midwives with assurance, and reason will shew the 

That, as the buttocks come down, the back turneth round, and, 
the shoulders go up, and, by this circular motion, the arme, or armes go 
up with the shoulders, and so, of themselves, become reduced, and lie 
again close to the sides, without any enforcing to thrust them up. 

But, if midwives will not bee perswaded, that the arme will reduce 
it self, it shall not trouble mee, if that it will not bee reduced, in any 
birth comming by the feet. 

Tor, not being reduced, it will bee a meanes to keep the womb 
from closing about the child's neck, and to save the child's life, and the 
neck from breaking, as Guillimeau hath testified, with Pareus, and as it 
was lately happily approved in Darby Nov. 27, 3 669 in W. B. 

When both the armes come down before the birth, with the hands 
stretched over the head, and the feet straight stretched into the womb ; 

In this birth, do not offer to drive back the shoulders, that the 
infant may fall again back into the womb ; Also, in this birth, do not 
force up the armes to place them by the child's sides, 

But slide up your anointed hand, and seek for the feet, and use 
the same way, as is directed in the seventh scheme. 

So, by the feet of the child, you may speedily, and safely deliver 
the woman, as I have shewed in my practice, although the woman hath 
no labour or throwes, to help forward the delivery. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


When the child commeth with his buttocks formost, there bee 
some that give directions, to lift up the fundament of the child, and to 
turn the head to the birth. 

But, if it cannot bee turned with the hand, they say, That then 
the woman must be brought to the bed, where, by often rocking to and 
fro, the child may bee brought forth by the head. 

Surely, in these men's, and midwives thoughts, and opinions, 
there is observed some occulta qualitas (which, as yet, no practicer hath 
revealed) in the tossing, rolling, or rocking of the labouring woman on 
the bed, for the turning of the child to the head, or to a better forme. 
And, untill it shall be revealed, I shall interpret it to bee no other thing, 
then, Sola ignorantia obstetricis. 

Eor it cannot chuse, but that it will bee grievous to the Avoman, to 
have her self, and the infant thus tossed, and violently moved from the 
breech, to briug downward the head to the passage. And her rolling, 
and tumbling on the bed will not alter the birth. 

Wherefore, to lay aside all these disquieting motions, causing 
tortures, let the midwife, in this birth of the buttocks, slide up her 
anointed hand into the woman's body, as shee kneeleth in a slope, 
bending posture, ascending. 

So may the midwife soon meet with the child's feet, and after- 
j ward bring them forth, without any violent force, to the orifice of the 
i matrice. 

For the best, and surest way is, to draw the infant forth by the 
feet, and so shee may quickly bee delivered. 




Observations in Midwifery, by 

Breast or 



In all births not to bee seen, but must bee distinguished by the 
feeling of the hand, let the midwife remember, That the breast is hard, 
and bony, and that the belly is smooth, and soft ; let her follow the 
softnes, and it will bring her to the thighes, and from thence shee may 
easily come to the feet. 

When the infant shall fall downe upon the breast, or belly, let not 
the midwife enquire after the armes of the infant, to lay hold of them, 
that shee may bring the head to the birth, and so dispose the armes 
afterwards to the sides ; 

Nor bring the woman to the bed, to tumble, or roll, nThopes, by 
this delay, the infant, perhaps, may accommodate it self to a more fit 
posture for the birth. 

But let the midwife put down her head to a pillow, placed in a 
woman's lap, and then to put her right hand along the child's thigh (as 
Guillimeau directeth) to find one of the feet, which being found, shee 
shall cast about it a ribband with a sliding knot ; then shall shee seek 
for the other foot, and bring them both gently to the passage, and so 
to draw the' child forth by the feet, taking hold of them with a 
warme napkin between her hands. Observing alwayes, that the child's 
face, and belly bee downwards, that is, to bee turned to the back of the 
woman, for fear least, when the shoulders ~are come forth, the chin 
should catch on the share-bone. 

But I like not so well the use of ribbands to bee tied to the 
child's ankles, as I do, to fetch the feet by my hand, and fingers. I have 
tried both wayes. To mee the hand alone was ever most usefull, and 
readiest for the work. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


So have you Guillirneau in the first place using ribbands, which 
bee troublesome ; 

And my practice, by my hand, and fingers, to mee easily to bee 
quickly performed, the which, with good successe, I have oft used, and, 
in so doing, have frequently saved the infants lives, and suddenly eased 
the mothers sufferings. 

When the child commeth with both the hands and feet together, 
it is impossible, that the child should bee born in this posture. 

In this birth, I would not have the midwife to move up the feet 
of the infant, nor to handle the head, to bring it to the birth, nor to 
strive to bring the hands, to place them by the sides of the child, nor to 
bring her to the bed, to tumble her with rolling, or tossing. Such 
doings will afflict the woman, and may endanger her life. 

But rather, as the woman kneeleth, in a slope, bending posture, 
ascending, leaning with her hands about another woman's neck, sitting 
afore her, 

Let the midwife come behind the labouring woman, and taking 
the child's feet in a soft, linen cloth, let her draw down the child gently 
by the feet. 

The hands of the child will both return by this drawing, and will 
go up, of themselves, into the woman's body. 

Por, as the child turneth round, so goeth up the shoulders, and 
both the hands with them, and come placed by the sides. 

And it is Guillimeau's opinion, That it is better, whether the 
child bee alive or dead (if hee come with his feet, and hands formost) that 
the chirurgion, or midwife bring him forth by the feet, then to turn him, 
to bring his head formost. 

Hands and 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

For, in this striving, the mother having been much wearied, and 
the child much weakened, the delivery (although it may bee brought to 
a naturall birth with much strugling) will prove very long, and difficult 
to bee performed, in regard, that neither the mother, nor the child have 
much strength left them. 

Whereas, if you draw the child forth by the feet, neither the 
mother, nor the child being weakened, the birth will bee more easy and 

And, by the feet, in Darby, and near to Darby, I have easily, and 
quickly, without torturing, laid this seeming difficult birth very happily, 
without thrusting up either the hands, or the feet. 

I have also laid this birth, where but one leg, and one arme came 
forth together ; and my work was performed, and ended, by drawing the 
infant forth by the feet. 


Guillimeau saith, when the child offereth to come into the world 
with one, or both his feet formost, 

The chirurgion (after the woman is placed) having his hands 
anointed, may chuse, whether hee will draw the child forth by the feet, 
or else, if hee think it better, to put back one, or both the feet, and to 
turn him, and bring his head straight to the passage. 

But hee concludeth, and thinketh, That the better, and safer way 
will bee, to draw him forth by the feet, then to turn him upside down, 
to lift his feet upwards, thereby to bring his head downwards to the 

All difficult births bee best laid by the feet. 

Peicivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


All births, comming with the feet forinost, ever lay by the feet, 
and do not thrust back the feet, to alter the birth, to bring it to the head, 
least that you make a worse birth. 

In all births, delivered by the feet, when the infant is drawn to 
the loines, if the child's face bee towards the belly, and navell of the 
mother, turn the child's body, that the face of the child may bee set 
towards the back of the mother. 

So you may draw him forth without danger, or staying, or the 
head catching on the share-bone, having your finger in the child's 
mouth, pressing down the chin at the instant time of drawing by the 

It cannot alwayes bee perceived, whether there bee two children 
at once in the womb. 

For Guillimeau affirmeth, that hee was at the delivery of an honest 
woman, who brought forth two children at a birth : When shee was 
delivered of the first, the midwife (not expecting that there was a second 
child) was ready to draw forth the after-burden, but was staid for the 
present, for that hee perceived another child to offer it self at the passage, 
which, as it came naturally, so shee was delivered very fortunately. 

Dr. Sermon hath such a like story of the same nature. Fol. 133. 

But grant, that either of these midwives had drawn away the 
after-burden before the second child had been born, must it needs have 
followed, that the travailing woman would have been ruinated by a flux 
of blood, through her straining to bring forth the second child ? 

I would not have any midwife to hazard such a danger, although 
I have known, that no mischief did follow in the like case, and that the 
woman lived, and did well recover. 



Observations in Midwifery, by 


If it should so fall out, that the twins should come together, one 
with his head, the other with his heeles formost, 

The chirurgion shall consider, which of the two children the 
woman may bee easiest delivered of. 

If the head of the one come not so forward, as the feet of the 
other, it will bee easiest to draw forth the child first, that commeth by 
his feet. 

But, if it happen, that, in the delivery of the first by the feet, that 
the second twin shall chang his situation, that then the chirurgion shall 
look after the feet, and draw him forth, as hee did the former, by the 

If the head of the first bee very forward, then shall hee thrust 
back the feet of the second, to give way to the other, that hee may 
come naturally. 

I have been at the birth of severall twins, bedded together in one 
secondine, as yet I never found, that they both forced their way 
together, neither could I heare it from any midwife. 

But I observed, that they ever came one after the other, with 
some intermission of time, as a quarter, or half of an houre, or a longer 
time between. 

When the first twin is born, hee must bee taken from between his 
mother's legs, after the navel-string is tied, and to tie the rest of the 
navel-string, that is fastened to the after- burden, with a larg and strong 
string, that it may thereby bee the easier found, and drawn forth 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


When the second child is come forth, the chirurgion, or midwife 
must consider, whether there bee two after-burdens, or but one. 

Let the midwife search dilligently the after-burden, when that shee 
hath brought it forth, whether there bee two navel-strings in that after- 
burden, or but one. 

If there bee two navelstrings fixed to that after-burden, then 
both the twins were contained in that secondine. 

But, if shee find but one navel-string in the secondine, then shee 
must search for a second after -burden again, for that the twins were 
included in severall secondines. 

Dr. James Wolveridge affirmeth, although there bee twins, or 
more, yet there is but one placenta, for hee saith, so many navel-strings 
are inserted in diverse places, as there are young ones. Fol. 89. 

But I know the contrary, and, chiefly, in twins of severall sexes, 
that they have had severall secondines, to which their navel-strings have 
been inserted in the womb. 

Pareus saith, That, if there bee twins, and both of one kind, as 
both males, or both females, that these twins bee enfolded in one 
secondine, and I have seen this to bee true. 

But, if one bee a male infant, and the other a female infant, that 
then, hee saith, that they have both severall secondines. But this rule 
doth not alwayes hold. For I have seen it otherwise, and that both the 
male, and female infants have been included in one secondine, and I 
have found both navelstrings in the same after-burden, or secondine, a 
span's distance fixed the one from the other. 



Observations in Midwifery, by 

Therefore let the midwife search the secondine, to see if all the 
navel-strings bee inserted in one after -burden, before shee make another 
searching in the womb. 

Should all the navel-strings bee inserted into one placenta, and, 
through her ignorance, shee should seek for another after- birth, shee 
might lacerate the womb, and so ruinate the woman. 

Both Pareus, and Guillimeau advice the chirurgion, that if there 
bee twins in the womb at once, to take heed, that hee take not of either 
of them a leg; for, by drawing of them so both forth together, hee 
should profit nothing for the delivery, but, in so doing, hee would 
exceedingly hurt the woman, and teare the children both asunder. 

Wherefore, that hee may not bee deceived, Guillimeau willeth, 
That, when hee hath drawn out one foot, and tied it with a ribband, and 
hath put it up again, let him, with his hand, follow the band, wherewith 
the foot was tied, and so go to the foot, and then to the groin of the 
child, and then from thence hee may find out the other foot of the same 
child, and so join them together. 

But I assure myself, that, after the chirurgion, or midwife hath 
drawn forth one foot with his hand, that it will bee the better way, to 
hold the foot fast in a linen cloth, and to draw the child gently by the 
foot, untill hee can find where the other foot resteth, the which hee may 
easily draw down with his finger, rather then to tie the child's feet with 
ribbands, which proceedings will bee troublesome, both to the mother, 
and the child. 

Guillimeau saith, That, if the two children should have but one 
body, it would bee a more easy, and safe way, to turn the head 
upwards, and to draw him forth by the feet, then to make him come 
forth with the head formost. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


Yet this is but his opinion, for hee concludeth, in the 22 d 
chapter of his second book, saying, That hee was never present at this 
kind of delivery. 

Yet my thoughts bee fixed to his opinion, from whence wee may 
gather this good observation, That all great heads, and bodies, with all 
difficult births, may, and ever will bee better delivered by the feet, then 
possibly they can bee by the head. 

For, when the head first approacheth in a difficult birth, there can 
nothing bee done more, then to anoint the body, and to cause sneezing, 
and to give medicines to enforce throwes. 

When neither anointing, or medicine, or the midwife's skill, with 
enforcements, prevailed, then I have been sent for, and, by turning the 
birth from the head to the feet, I have oft happily, and quickly delivered 
the woman. 

In the birth of twins, if either of them come down with an arm, 
first lay that twin, comming by the arme (as hath been directed in the 
seventh scheme) by the feet. 

If it come by a foot, follow the way set for the delivery by the 

If by the head, follow the directions of a naturall birth. 

If the second child be weak, and continuing strugling in the 
womb, wanting strength to break the membranes enfolding, and keeping 
in his imprisoned body, let the midwife slide up her anointed hand, and 
break the bed, and draw the infant forth by the feet, the which I have 
severall times performed, and, in so doing, I have saved the child's 
life, which, otherwise, by weaknes, might have perished. 



Observations in Midwifery, by 




It hath proved unfortunate to severally under whose hands the 
women have perished, and it is not used in England. 

Dr. James Primrose holdeth it to bee a rash piece of work, and 
to do it in a living woman, a practice to bee abhorred. 

I therefore passe it over with silence, being unwilling to make a 
dreadfull noise in the eares of women, or to embolden any in the works 
of cruelty. 

Yet let mee not leave women in their sufferings comfortles, with- 
out any hope of cure, for that I beleeve this dreadfull operation may, 
without cutting the mother's side, and womb, bee better performed, and 
helped, by drawing the child, if it bee living, by the feet; if it bee dead, 
by the crochet. 

For I have delivered severall women of dead children by my hand, 
by turning the birth from the head to the feet, that have been left 
comfortles by mid wives, and their friends ; and have drawn forth the 
dead children by my hand, the which I could not do by the crochet, 
although it was conveniently fastened in the head. 

I therefore prefer the use of the hancfbefore the crochet, or any 
other instrument whatsoever. 

I could wish, that all men-mid -wives, and all women -midwives 
would make triall of this way, as I have done, and shall pray, that this 
work may bee as happily performed by them, as it hath been approved 
by mee, by the hand producing the infant by the feet, and so saving the 
child's life; and the mothers, with their children, as yet living, will 
beare mee witnes, that I affirm nothing but the truth. 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


And, for that there bee some schemes, differing onely a little in 
the figure, all which bee laid after one way, I thought to have omitted 
some of them, but then I should not have pleased the young midwife, 
for that shee would have thought her book defective, in not being 
furnished with all the schemes, and various figures, on which midwives 
look, making their women to think of wonders, by shewing them these 
pictures of the children, assuring them, that, by these, they bee directed, 
and perfected, aud much enlightened in the way of midwifery. 

Therefore, with others, I have set forth all the schemes, with 
their figures, the which bee observed for the woman's delivery. 

And, in these unnaturall births, comming by the feet, let mee 
perswade, and assure midwives, that they will bee best laid, as the 
woman kneeleth on a bolster, using the slope, bending posture, 
ascending, as it commeth by the feet. 

But I lie difficult births, not to bee seen, must bee first altered, in 
a slope, bending posture, descending, or, otherwise, the labouring 
woman will bee put to suffer much affliction in the delivery. 

As in these births, where the head, and body bee too great for 
the passage ; or when the infant offereth to come with a distorted, or 
crooked neck; And to these may bee added the birth, which cometh 
thrusting forth first an arme, or armes. 

For the births, comming by the belly, back, or side, or with 
bending knees, or hands, with feet, or the buttocks, these bee of a 
middle nature, between these extremes, and difficultnesses, for the 
delivery, and may bee laid, either the ascending, or descending posture, 
by the midwife, accordingly as each scheme hath his peculiar direction. 

And, therefore to satisfie the young practicing midwife, I have 
set forth all the severall births, with their schemes. 




1: 2: 


Observations in Midwifery, by 

And, in so doing, I have multiplied words, and made repetitions, 
not knowing how to avoid them, for satisfying their desires. 

And if, in so doing, I have offended the learned, I would that all 
superfluities might bee pared off by some judicious practicer, to the 
content of all readers. 

Yet I must intreat their favours, for the present, to passe over 
this fault (if it should bee so thought) and the rather, for that this 
work was not intended for them (being too weake to improve their 
knowledge) but for the simple beginner, the new, ignorant midwife, 
though aged in yeares, yet a young novice for practice, inhabiting the 
countrey, and dweDing in obscure, remote places, destitute of all able 
helps to assist her. Where the old midwife can shew her nothing more, 
then how to receive the child, comming in a naturall birth, which, with- 
out her company, or assistance, would, sometimes, sooner, and easier, 
without any halings, or enforcings of the woman's body, bee bom, by 
the sole help of nature, with little, or small trouble. 

And this Opusculum, or the midwife's vade mecum (which is, 
and ever was my way of practice) let the country midwife take thankfully 
for her use, to help, and direct her endeavours, untill shee can get better 
wayes, and directions from judicious practicers, or from her own experience. 

So God alone, that doth all things, and helpeth women in the 
need Ml time of labouring, and in bringing forth of children, 

To him bee given all honour, praise, and glory, for his great 
blessings, and mercies, in the preserving of mankind, as also all his 
creatures, by whose gracious favour, and goodnes wee live, move, and 
have our beings. 

Therefore, let every one give thanks, and let all, that hath breath, 
praise the Lord — For his mercy endureth for ever, and is daily seen in 
all his works, in the continuation, and preservation of them. 

Peicivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


The Table. 

All births produced either by the head, or feet - - - -304 
To prepare women for travaile - 304 — 5 

Labouring woman's chamber - 305 
Midwife not to meddle till nature call - - 305—6—7—8 
No medicines to labouring woman to cause throwes unles 

nature faint, and that towards the end of the travaile 306 

Auctours on midwifery follow one another - - - 306 

Pallet-bed best for weak women, a bolster for the strong 307 

Delivery without midwives - - - - - 307 

The longer the birth retained, the more succesfull the deliverv 308 

When to call the midwife to ede - - - - - 308 
Delivery of a naturall birth ----- 30 8 — 9 

The woman's posture when the birth is to be turned - - 309 

In false conceptions and abortments nature the best midwife 310 

All unnaturall births to bee delivered by the feet - - 810 

What a naturall, what unnaturall birth - 1 

Delivery in a naturall birth by the head - - - - 312 

Midwife's office in this birth - - - - . 312 

Delivery of a birth where the head and body is too great - 313 

Delivery of a birth comming with a crooked neck - 313 

Guillimeau's way of delivering - - - - . 314 

The foregoing birth disallowed 315 

The child's face in all births by the feet must bee toward its 

mother's back -.-.._. 316 

To get away the after-birth - - - - - . 31 6 
To lay the birth comming with the feet forward, and hands 

stretched downward to the sides - - - - 317 

344 Observations in Midwifery, by 

To lay the birth comming with the feet forward, and the 

hands lifted up above the head - - - - 318 

To lay the birth comming with one foot onely, and the armes 

let down to the sides ------ 319 

To lay the woman when the infant lyeth crosse the womb, on 

its side or back, with hands and feet upwards - 320 
To lay the birth with armes and legs distorted, which it is 

questionable whether it ever was - - - 321 
To lay the birth when infant comes with the knees bent; and 

hands hanging to thigh es or sides - - - 321 

Cruelty of midwives in birth comming witli armes - - 321 
What late auctors advice in the foregoing birth - - 322, &c. 

Arm fixed in the neck of the womb how to bee loosed - 325 

The Auctor's way in the last birth ... - 325 

How the child's feet lie in the womb - 327 
To know the parts of the infant's body in the womb - 326 — 332 

How to hold the child's foot - 332 
Slope bending postures ascending and descending when to 

bee used - - - - 328 

Birth by both the armes ' - - - - - - 330 

Birth by the buttocks - - - 331 

Hocking and rolling the woman - - - - - 331 

Birth by the breast or belly - - , - - - 332 

Birth by both the hands and feet ----- 333 

Birth by the feet - - 334 

Twins, the way of delivering them - - - - - ,335 

No twins forced their way at once ... - 336 

The time between them - - - - - - 336 

Percivall Willughby, Gentleman. 


To know whether two after-burdens in the birth of twins 337 

Chiefly twins of severall sexes have either of them a secondine 337 

When second child in twins is weak, what to do 339 

Csesarean section ------ 340 

Instead thereof to draw the infant by the feet - 340 
What births to bee laid by the ascending, what by the 

descending posture - - - - 341 

Apology for tautologies - - 342